Owain Doull feels all the experiences gained in his first season as a pro will stand him in good stead heading into 2018.
By his own admission the Welshman enjoyed an ‘up and down’ campaign after turning pro with Team Sky. Doull was all set to start the Tour Down Under in 2017 but ended up having his appendix removed after an emergency late night visit to Royal Adelaide Hospital.
12 months on he’s relishing the opportunity to tackle the race, with the benefit of a full season under his belt.
The 24 year old explained: “My first year with Team Sky was pretty up and down to be honest. I’d say overall there were more positives than negatives and I learnt a lot. In that regard I feel positive about coming into 2018. All those experiences have brought me on a lot as an athlete and as a person. I’m really looking forward to trying to step up again in 2018.”
Central to the learning process last year was watching how the team’s more experienced riders went about their job. Doull highlights two riders as having a particular impact.
“There’s been a couple of guys who have helped me out this year,” he added. “Luke Rowe is a rider I aspire to be like in the future – someone who does the Classics in the beginning of the year and then makes that transition into the bigger tours for the second half of the year. Seeing how he goes about it, how he operates, how he trains, his professionalism as well, has been really good this year.
“Then in the races, a guy like Kwiato. The way he approaches the races, regardless of what scenario you’re in, or the situation, or how he’s feeling, he always wants to try to win, either himself or with the team, and always comes up with a plan to go about that. That’s a really cool thing to see. Those two guys I would pinpoint as being the most influential.”
It’s motivating and inspiring when you see all these other young, talented people from all over the world in one team with a common goal.
Influential riders are key to a team that has a strong and increasing youthful core. On being part of this new wave of talent Doull said: “It’s really interesting now if you look at the team, you can almost cut it in half with two different groups. You’ve got the older guys who are really in their prime and at the top of their game, and on the flip side you’ve got a lot of guys who are under 25, just starting out, and there’s not that many guys in the middle in that range.
“So to be part of that future generation with what Sky are trying to do, build for the future, and really invest in the future of cycling, it’s exciting to be a part of that group and it’s motivating and inspiring when you see all these other young, talented people from all over the world in one team with a common goal. It’s really exciting.”