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Alex Dowsett: 'I’ve got the gas to go as far as Wiggins in the Hour Record'

Joseph Delves
11 Jun 2018

We caught up with the rider to chat about his recent Giro ride, his Tour prediction, and if he’ll regain the Hour Record. Photo: TDW Sport

Following a transfer from Movistar to Katusha-Alpecin, Alex Dowsett is back riding Grand Tours. With his new role combining a place in Marcel Kittel’s lead-out train and the squad’s accomplished team time-trial line-up, he’s just back from the Giro and looking forward to the rest of the season.

Cyclist caught up with him to find out how the new job is suiting the boy from Essex, what's on the rest of his calendar, and whether he might recapture his Hour Record this year.

Cyclist: How was the Giro d'Italia, and what are your plans for the rest of the year?

Alex Dowsett: The Giro was tough but manageable. It was nice to be in a situation where I wasn’t straight to the grupetto but able to hold my own. The rest of my season is still to be decided. When I spoke to Katusha at the back-end of last year the Giro was very much the one and only goal.

I threw my name in the hat for the Tour de France, but that will be a long shot. I can probably predict what the rest of the year will look like: Tour of Britain, National Champs, then time-trial World Champs, that sort of thing.

Cyc: How are you getting on at Katusha-Alpecin?

AD: The move to Katusha has been really good. My time at Movistar was awesome, a little bit challenging towards the end (Dowsett wasn’t selected to ride a Grand Tour in 2017).

But I wouldn’t have stayed so long if I hadn’t enjoyed it. At Katusha it's fun being back as part of a lead-out train, and being an English speaker makes things easier, as that’s the language at the dinner table.

Cyc: Katusha has an exceptionally strong time-trial squad. How does that figure in the team’s goals for the season?

AD: Well there’s a team time-trial at this summer’s Tour, which will be fairly crucial. And there are the team time-trial World Champs at the end of the year.

That won’t be thought about properly until after the Tour is done though. The team is excited about it, there’ll be work done towards it. Nils Politt, Tony Martin, and Ilnur Zakarin will all play crucial parts.

Cyc: Are you confident about regaining your National Champs title at the end of June?

AD: I’m confident about doing a good ride. The numbers are encouraging. I’ve come out of the Giro well. But you just don’t know what sort of competition will turn up.

If Geraint Thomas and Froomey turn up then I’ve got a real race on my hands. From the UK riders like James Gullen and Harry Tanfield are both quick. All I can do is the best I can.

Cyc: Will there be time this year for another shot at the Hour Record?

AD: I certainly hope so. I definitely want to. It’s a massive commitment from the team’s side. It’s not just a case of me deciding I want to do that this year, the team has to be up for it.

The main goal was the Giro, so now that’s done we’ll have a chat and look ahead. I’d be keen but it has to come from the team.

Cyc: How do you prepare for the Hour, does it mean time out from racing?

AD: You don’t take time off from racing. You just do the races that work well towards the Hour. With how I am at the moment, I feel I’d be in quite good shape to have a tilt at it.

One of the ways of approaching the record is to do it straight off the back of a Grand Tour. But then aiming towards the end of the year you could use rides like the Tour of Britain to prepare.

Cyc: How hard is riding the Hour?

AD: For my Hour Record the power numbers were in the top-end of Zone 3. It wasn’t a hard hour for me. It was a case of train hard, race easy.

We ensured we were well prepared and just went at the speed we knew would break the record, without going any faster. It’s why I want to go back. Because I felt it wasn’t really a fair representation.

I want to go back and take the record, and also know how fast I can go. We’ve done the numbers, I’ve got the gas to go as far as Wiggins at least.

Cyc: How long is the window in which you have to make your best attempt?

AD: I think there are a few years left in which to do it. The only concern is someone popping up and smashing it out the ballpark. I want to see how fast I personally can go, but a team won’t invest time and money if there’s no chance of breaking the record.

Although I think the record is now at a point where no one is going to obliterate it, it’s going to be metres not kilometres.

Cyc: Who do you think is going win the Tour de France this year?

AD: There’s an extra week for riders to recover between the Tour and the Giro and that’s going to make things interesting. Probably it’s going to be Froome. With the way he improved through the Giro he would have finished in good shape as well. Otherwise Richie Porte.

There’s a lot of guys we’ve not seen much of. Adam Yates, off the back of what his twin brother has done. It's going to be interesting for sure.

Cyc: What do you make of Froome riding with his case still ongoing?

AD: I just think it all should have been sorted by now. I don’t really know enough about it. Who knows what’s happening behind closed doors.

If it was handled in the way it should have been we wouldn’t even know about it. Because of the way it’s being handled we [the riders] all end up getting asked about it.

Obviously, there’s a case being made for and against. You don’t know which way it’s going to go, but it’s not good news for cycling.

Alex Dowsett is a professional cyclist for Katusha-Alpecin. For more information on Alpecin caffeine shampoo, visit alpecin.com