Team Sky's Alex Dowsett talks about not being beaten by haemophilia… and the London 2012 TT

Sky rider appears in video to promote charities supported by new Lord Mayor of London

by Simon_MacMichael   November 13, 2011  

Alex Dowsett wins the 2011 IG Markets London Nocturne.jpg

Team Sky's Alex Dowsett, who is building a successful career as a professional cyclist  despite the challenge of living with haemophilia, has appeared in a video highlighting the charities supported by the new Lord Mayor of London, David Wootton, who was sworn in yesterday.

Barts and The London Charity on behalf of the Trauma Unit at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel is the lead charity among five nominated by the incoming Lord Mayor, a partner at international law firm Allen & Overy, to benefit from the Lord Mayor's Appeal 2012.

The Lord Mayor's own sporting interests are reflected by two of the other four nominated charities, The Rowing Foundation and London Youth Rowing, with Fields In Trust and Futures For Kids making up the quintet.

As home to the London Air Ambulance, the Royal London is often the destination for cyclists who have suffered serious injury on the streets of the capital, and it also has a special significance for Dowsett, as he explains in the short film, which also includes a message from newscaster and keen cyclist Jon Snow, president of the CTC.

It's not the first time the 23-year-old from Essex has used his status as a professional athlete to raise awareness of the condition he and thousands other suffer from, as well as the work of the Royal London Hospital.

Dowsett and his Team Sky colleagues wore red Oakley Jawbones earlier this year in the  final stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon to mark World Haemophilia Day and publicise the work of the World Haemophilia Foundation.

At the time, in an interview on the Team Sky website, the rider explained that leading an active lifestyle was one way to help lessen the impact of his condition.

As a result, when he was younger, his parents encouraged him to take part in a wide range of sports, although he acknowledged that his experience was far from typical for someone with his condition.

"If a child has haemophilia it's very easy for their parents to want to wrap up them up in cotton wool and not expose them to sport, but that in itself can breed more problems," he revealed.

"Although the risks of contact sports like football and rugby are restrictive, there are plenty of other activities sufferers can try instead.

"When I was younger I did an awful lot of swimming, sailing and athletics and it's definitely helped keep my condition in check."

Dowsett is now working with the World Haemophilia Foundation to raise awareness of haemophilia.

"Being an ambassador is something I'm really passionate about pursuing because I get a great deal of satisfaction from showing sufferers what's possible and hopefully inspiring them to be more active," he said.

"What I've achieved so far in the sport is unheard of for a Haemophiliac, so I'm keen to send the message out that if you have Haemophilia, it doesn't need to hold you back at all."

On the bike, Dowsett's debut season with Team Sky saw him win the British national time trial championship in September, and the same month he also won the time trial in Stage 8a of the Tour of Britain.

He now has ambitions of representing Britain at the 2012 Olympics, both in the men's road race to support future Sky team mate Mark Cavendish's gold medal hopes and in the individual time trial, where he will be looking to secure one of two berths available to British riders, most likely alongside Bradley Wiggins.

"To do the time trial you have to be in the road race team as well but with Mark Cavendish being such a big favourite for that I have turned my focus into being the best possible attribute to the team in order to get selected," he revealed in an interview published in Metro this week.

"There are 10-12 riders in the running so it’s very competitive just to get in the team," he added.

However, with the time trial coming after the road race, Dowsett claims that favourites for the race against the clock, including Germany's world champion, Tony Martin, may find the going tough.

"‘In any UCI event the TT comes first because it’s shorter. But at the Olympics the road race is first and there is then too small a gap in between, so they’ve taken the edge off both," he maintained.

"Martin is outright favourite in the TT but he has to do the road race and it may take something out of him. It also affects the German team as he’ll be picked ahead of someone who could do a job. So everyone is compromised. It feels like a runner being asked to do the marathon before the 400metres."

Meanwhile, Dowsett is keeping his legs spinning over the winter by representing Team Sky on the track in the Revolution series, the next round of which, this coming Saturday, sees Cavendish's first race in Britain since he won the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen in September.

"It’s been a long year but I always enjoy the Revolution series," he reflected "I first did it as a 16-year-old and I’ve done one or two a year ever since. The crowds are really enthusiastic and it was a lot of fun.