Alex Dowsett wanted daughter to be able to say her dad was an Olympian

The British time trial champion has shared his heartbreak after not being selected for the Tokyo games

Alex Dowsett riding stage one of the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Alex Dowsett has voiced how disappointed he is to miss out on the Team GB selection at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, saying he wanted his daughter to be able to say her dad was an Olympian.

Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) posted a video up on his YouTube channel to talk about how he feels about missing out on the team selection and what he thinks about the new rules implemented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The team selected for the road cycling Team GB squad were Simon Yates (BikeExchange), twin brother Adam Yates, as well as Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart (all Ineos Grenadiers). Dowsett had hoped to compete in the Olympic TT event in Tokyo, but instead Thomas and Geoghegan Hart will fight for a medal in the solo test. 

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Dowsett missed out along with the likes of Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), James Knox (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), Luke Rowe, Ben Swift and Tom Pidcock (all Ineos Grenadiers). 

Dowsett revealed that he had been working towards the Olympics after he was contacted by British Cycling in 2019 and was told they thought he could be a medal contender in the time trial. But he then learnt he wasn't in the Olympics six days after he left the 2021 Giro d'Italia with stomach issues.

In his YouTube video, he said: "In our day and age we’re told so much that we can be anything or do anything if you want it enough, believe in it enough, it’s tough, I don’t want to sit here and tell you that’s not true but I can sit here and tell you that you can do everything under the sun, you can believe more than anything and it can still not go your way. And that’s okay.

"I had to do a lot of soul searching. There were just some big disappointments. The overriding one is not being able to compete in the Olympics for my country. Not being able to win a medal in the Olympics for my country. 

"The biggest one was being the first haemophiliac to go to the able-bodied Olympics, now that’s not happening I felt a real blow for me and for the haemophilic community, for now. I’m confident it will happen. It may not be me but it will happen. There will be a haemophiliac at the able-bodied Olympics. 

"I wanted my daughter to be able to say that her daddy was an Olympian but that’s okay. I thought about my dad [retired racing driver Phil Dowsett] who’s my sporting hero above all and he didn’t make it to F1, he wasn’t world champion - he was very good and I’m very proud of him and idolise him for where he got to."

The British time trial champion also said that it has brought the fact that he's now come to terms with being 32-years-old and thinking this may have been his last chance with him being 35 for the next games: "I don’t know if the Paris Olympics will be a go for me, I’ll be a bit on the old side, it’s three years away so I’ll be 35 so maybe."

But Dowsett's main issue was with the new IOC rule that he described as "athlete culling" where the time trialists have to do the road race as well. This means that some specialist in the time trial won't be at the Olympics as the road race is a mountainous one.

"The one that really rattled me, and it always has rattled me, was the whole rolling around that the time trialist had to come from the road team. 

"To put this in running, this rule, you say to Usain Bolt, 'yes you can do the 100 metres and the 200 metres which is your jam, but we’re going to need you to line up for the 1500 metres as well if you want to do it because we’re trying to cut numbers.' for me it dilutes it. 

"If you look at the Italian squad, the two best time trialist in Italy at the moment are Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) and Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) and only Ganna is going to ride in that TT because it’s a mountainous road race, which is why Affini won’t be going as far as I can guess from what I have read and heard."

But he did stress that he isn't saying he would have been selected even if the rule wasn't in place as he described the team selected as a "weapon" of a team. He continued that his fifth place at the World Championships gave Team GB the second TT place at the Olympics and that he's the national champion, but agrees that those things should not matter in the selection process.

"You can put everything into something and it doesn’t happen and that is also okay. Not everyone can win." He continued. "Not everyone can go, not everyone can be selected for a team. I just think it’s important that you come away knowing that you couldn’t have done anymore and that’s where I’m at.

"I’m okay with it. I’ll probably watch it. I think I’ll watch it. I’ve got a few team-mates in it as well and Chanel [his partner] is a Kiwi so we’re quite divided on who we’re supporting, whether it's Tao and G or Paddy Bevin."

The Olympic Games get underway in Tokyo on July 23 with the road race and time trial on July 24 and July 28.

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Tim Bonville-Ginn is one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter.


Bonville-Ginn started working in cycling journalism while still at school and university for a voluntary site based on Twitter before also doing slots for Eurosport's online web team and has been on location at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain, UCI World Championships and various track events. He then joined the Cycling Weekly team in late February of 2020.


When not writing stories for the site, Bonville-Ginn doesn't really switch off his cycling side as he watches every race that is televised as well as being a rider himself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager.


He rides a Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on his local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being his preferred terrain.