Alex Dowsett relishing chance of Marcel Kittel lead-out role with Katusha in 2018

Chance to help sprint train central to Katusha-Alpecin move for Essex TT star

Alex Dowsett, Tour of Britain 2017 stage five (Andy Jones)
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

Alex Dowsett has revealed how the chance to join Katusha-Alpecin’s sprint train, which as of next year will be spearheaded by Marcel Kittel, was one of the main reasons for his move to the Swiss team.

“It all happened really quickly,” said Dowsett. “We were asking around and Katusha were interested, and as a team, and with the signings they were making, I thought it looked really positive.

“Above anything I was just excited to work with a sprinter again, in any capacity. I think that I was quite consistent when I was in that role with Sky and performed well when it came to the lead-out and looking after a sprinter.”

Riding alongside world time trial champion Tony Martin and facing off against the likes of BMC and Quick-Step Floors in team time trials, was also a draw for the 28-year-old Essex rider.

“The team time trial suddenly looks very exciting, and with Katusha there is some real horsepower there. I’ll certainly learn how to suffer on a wheel if Tony is pulling turns as well.

“A real highlight for me at Movistar was finishing third in the World Championship team time trial [in 2015]. There is something special about it.”

The Movistar man added that the attraction of staying on the Canyon time trial bike which both his current and 2018 teams use, was another big factor in his decision.

Dowsett had been scheduled to have a second tilt at the World Hour Record, which he lost to Bradley Wiggins in 2015, this year but that has been cancelled. However, he is still keen to reclaim it though he has not had any detailed discussions directly with Katusha.

“I’ll get settled first.” he said. “I’ve got seven years to do the Hour Record but it’s a shame it didn’t happen this year. I know the numbers are there and I can do it, I just need three months’ warning and an hour slot in Manchester.”

Despite putting his name in the hat for the Great Britain team for the World Championships, Dowsett didn’t make the longlist for the squad.

But he is expected to sign off his Movistar career with a ride in the World Championship team time trial next week.

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Paul Knott is a fitness and features writer, who has also presented Cycling Weekly videos as well as contributing to the print magazine as well as online articles.  In 2020 he published his first book, The Official Tour de France Road Cycling Training Guide (Welbeck), a guide designed to help readers improve their cycling performance via cherrypicking from the strategies adopted by the pros.