Alex Dowsett

  • DOB03 Oct 1988
  • Age25
  • Height 1.83m
  • Weight73kg
  • NationalityGreat Britain
  • Birth PlaceMALDON, ESSEX

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Tour of Qatar

Dowsett looking to learn

Youngster gearing up for Team Sky debut

By Nick Howes   Last updated: 7th February 2011

Alex Dowsett is excited to be making his Team Sky debut at the Tour of Qatar and believes it will be a far different proposition from the race he experienced 12 months ago.

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Back then Dowsett was learning the ropes with the Trek-Livestrong Under-23 team and looked on admiringly as Team Sky romped to victory on the opening team time trial.

A year on and the 22-year-old has earned himself a ride on that very same team and is eager to show his new employers what he can do.

He said: "I'm pretty nervous because it's going to be a huge step up for me and completely different this time around. Last year I was there purely for experience and trying not to get in the way, but now I am with a WorldTour team who won a stage last year and also held the leader's jersey.

"I'll be there to do whatever is asked of me and trying to make as few mistakes as possible.

"I think the race itself should pan out differently as well because last year there was unusually no wind. We're all expecting it to whip up this time around though and that means everyone's going to have to work harder to avoid big splits in the field."

Fast start

On paper, Sunday's prologue looks like the perfect way for Dowsett to mark his arrival into the big leagues. The Essex local is widely regarded as one of the world's best young time triallists and already possesses a Commonwealth Games silver medal and European Under-23 title among his growing list of achievements.

Dowsett though, believes the pan-flat, two-kilometre circuit could suit a wide range of abilities and doesn't want to place any undue pressure on himself.

He added: "It's a really short course and I'm not sure how it's going to go. Everyone that is picked for the Tour of Qatar has to be a powerful rider and the sprinters, pursuiters and rouleurs will all fancy their chances. It's not going to be one exclusively for the time-triallists, that's for sure.

"Obviously, I'll be giving everything I have, and I couldn't be starting in better form. I'm feeling stronger than I've ever done before and have really benefitted from the team's winter training camp.

"Whilst I was there I was did a lot of top-end training to try and pre-empt the prologue a bit, and posted some good figures on my five-minute climbing efforts."

Once the prologue has been completed, Dowsett will spend the remainder of the race working in the lead-outs for Russell Downing and Jeremy Hunt. It is a role he is already familiar with, having adopted it numerous times with Trek-Livestrong in the past, and also focused on closely during his time in Majorca:

"Our sports director Steven de Jongh believes the lead-outs are going to be vital in Qatar so they are something we have practised a lot at camp. I learnt so much from him, and also from guys like Russ, Jeremy and Kurt-Asle Arvesen, so hopefully it won't be too much of a baptism of fire once we get into the race situation.

"Everyone else was happy to offer me advice as well and I've bonded with my team-mates really well. The way the camp was run, with different people dropping in and out every week, it felt like I built up a bit of a relationship with everyone and that has definitely given me peace of mind for the season ahead."

Room buddies

Dowsett admits he was slightly surprised to find himself rooming with Bradley Wiggins during his time in Majorca, but any nerves he had were quickly allayed and the duo build up a solid rapport.

"Having achieved what he's achieved, I assumed he might have been given his own room," he laughed. "At first I was pretty nervous and on my best behaviour but we soon got chatting and found we had a fair bit in common in terms of time trialling and things. He's a really nice guy but I was able to pick his brains and find out how he goes as quickly as he does."

It has yet to be determined whether the pair will room together again in Qatar, but Dowsett cannot wait to touch down in the Middle East and get down to business on the bike.

"It's amazing to travel to Qatar as it's so different from anywhere else we race," he concluded. "It can be a culture shock at times because there is such a massive contrast in wealth - it seems that the rich are really rich while the poor are really poor.

"The Ritz hotel where we stayed last year was one of the best I had ever seen, so I was pretty stoked when they told us we would be going back there. The race itself is also totally unique and I'm just itching to hit the road now."

The Tour of Qatar runs between 6-11 February and we will have daily reports, reaction and photo galleries throughout the week.

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