'The biggest failure would have been to have never tried': Alex Dowsett reacts to emotional Hour Record attempt

The Brit's Just Giving page has raised over £30,000 for the charity The Haemophilia Society

Alex Dowsett and his partner, Chanel, after his Hour Record attempt
(Image credit: Jesus Gonzalez)

Alex Dowsett did not manage to beat Victor Campenaerts World Hour Record at the Aguascalientes Velodrome in Mexico but did send out a powerful message to people carrying Haemophilia.

Dowsett, who did the record attempt for the second time in his career after first breaking the record back in May of 2015 with a distance of 52.937km, managed a ride of 54.555km, still behind Campenaerts' 55.089km set in April 2019.

But the ride was about so much more than just the record, with Dowsett adding that the money and awareness raised for a condition of which he is a carrier was one of the main targets along with trying to set a new record.

>>> Alex Dowsett falls short of Hour Record in Mexico

Speaking after the effort, a visibly exhausted and emotional Dowsett said that missing the record was not a failure, adding there was an equally important goal: "The biggest failure today would have been to have never tried and that's the message to send out you know, is I spent a childhood of being told what I couldn't do. 

"And you know, we, my mum, my dad, we knew what we couldn't do, like football, rugby, boxing. So we set about finding what we could do. We turned a negative into an absolute positive and I've been able to carve a massive career out, carve it from adversity.

"And that that should be the message, life can give you at a bad hand at times. And it's how you, it's what you make of it."

Alex Dowsett riding his Hour Record attempt

(Image credit: Jesus Gonzalez)

The six-time national time trial champion later posted to his Instagram where he thanked everyone involved in his effort from his family, including his partner Chanel and young daughter Juliette, to the coaches like Michael Hutchinson as well as the sponsors Pfizer, Israel Start-Up Nation, and the rest.

"We had three objectives for the attempt and we succeeded at two of them," Dowsett wrote. 

"54.555km is a distance I’m proud of, it’s everything I had/have and that’s the first success, I shot for the record, I was ok for 30mins and there was nothing more I could do to hang onto it.

"The second, and most important, is the awareness we’ve bought to a rare condition who my family have not only turned such a negative into a such a positive, but really making the absolute best of it.

"Mum, Dad, Lois, Chanel and Juliette were on my sleeve throughout today and kept me going even when I knew it was slipping away. Today was not a failure but the message from trying and missing the record is perhaps more poignant than that of succeeding, it would’ve been incredibly easy to not have attempted this."

Haemophilia, of which Dowsett, his mother and his daughter are carriers, is a rare and often inherited bleeding disorder where the blood does not clot properly. This means that a carrier could suffer from spontaneous bleeding as well as continued bleeding after an injury or surgery. 

It is not known whether Dowsett will ever try to go for the record again, but with growing rumours that world time trial champion and team pursuit world record holder Filippo Ganna is looking at an attempt, that may be unlikely.

To donate to Dowsett's cause, just follow his Just Giving link.

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm 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. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!


I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.


It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.


After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.


When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.


My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.