Alex Dowsett at the start of this year may have been looking for another two seasons in the WorldTour but as the British rider comes to the end of his Israel Premier Tech contract he has now decided it is time to call an end to that part of his career and, instead of playing the contract waiting game, focus on what comes next.
“I’m going to step out of the WorldTour, well step out of pro cycling, from now,” said Dowsett on his YouTube vlog. “I understand a couple of months ago I said I wanted a couple more years. It’s worth talking about what’s changed since then.
“This year I’ve gone through a period of the want to win something bigger than I previously won, or be better than I’ve previously been has wavered somewhat and I’ve been more in a state of being happy with what I have achieved, being content with my world and achievements and success and application to my time in the World Tour. I feel it’s a very nice point to stop this chapter of my life and move forwards. I’m grateful I get to bring this to a close on my terms, it’s my decision, nothing has been forced.”
Dowsett, who turned professional with Team Sky in 2011, has won two Giro d’Italia stages, taken the British TT title six times and briefly held the World Hour Record in 2015 but at 33 is feeling the shift toward a tendency to sign younger riders, having already had to grapple with the high-stress situation of a late contract search in the pandemic year of 2020.
“Early in the year my manager and I tested the water with a future in pro-cycling, another couple of years, but when it was clear it was going to be another waiting game I said to my manager lets just stop looking. I want to move on from this,” said Dowsett. “I think since making that call I’ve become more and more excited about the future.”
Dowsett is no stranger to pursuing goals outside the WorldTour and made another attempt on the World Hour Record late last year – though he fell short of Victor Campenaerts’ mark of 55.089 kilometres – and was also recently a bike-leg pacer in the Sub 7 Sub 8 attempts on the Ironman world records.
The rider said he’d always enjoyed giving advice that helped other people go faster, but maybe not so much if they then went on to beat him.
“I’m looking forward to actually being able to help more people go faster, with some business plans we have, and not being worried that I’m helping people beat me but just enjoying helping people go faster,” he said.
Dowsett didn’t disclose precisely what his plans for 2023 and beyond were, but said: “My future is still going to be on two wheels, this isn’t a retirement from cycling. This is a retirement from the WorldTour.”
There was one thing he was very clear about, though, and that was that he was not going to follow the path from the WorldTour to professional gravel racing.
“It would be highly arrogant of me to sit here and say I’m going to go and be a pro gravel racer now because I’ve never participated in gravel,” said Dowsett. “I am fascinated by it, but what gives me the right to say I’m going to be a pro gravel racer now, because honestly I’ve got no idea of that scene.”