Alex Dowsett is set to retire from professional cycling, with the 33-year-old saying that he had changed his mind on a future in the WorldTour once it had become clear that it would be another “waiting game” to find a contract.
The Israel-Premier Tech rider’s contract is up at the end of 2022, and so he will be ending his 12-year long stay at the top of cycling come the end of the season.
The man from Essex holds the record for most British time trial titles – six – and won two Giro d’Italia stages across his career. He also briefly held the Hour Record, with a distance of 52.937km, before handing it over to Bradley Wiggins a month later in 2015; he is one of the five Britons to hold the record.
In a video for his YouTube channel, Dowsett said: “I’m going to step out of the WorldTour, well step out of pro cycling, from now. 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 turned professional with Team Sky in 2011, and had spells at Movistar, Katusha-Alpecin and finally Israel-Premier Tech. His 15 wins over his career include the overall title at Bayern Rundfahrt in 2015. He competed in two Tours de France as well as five Giri d’Italia.
He is known for being a unique professional athlete as he suffers from haemophilia. He helped found a charity called Little Bleeders, which “supports young people with blood disorders to ‘move more and be more'”.
“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,” he said.
“I think since making that call I’ve become more and more excited about the future.
“My future is still going to be on two wheels, this isn’t a retirement from cycling. This is a retirement from the WorldTour.”
Dowsett is also behind a cycling brand called Thighs Club, which makes aero clothing for cyclists.
“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.
He also explained that he would not be heading straight into the gravel racing scene, like other season professionals have in recent years.
“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,” Dowsett said. “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.”