Essex cyclist Alex Dowsett has 'outside chance' of taking yellow jersey in Tour de France Grand Depart

PUBLISHED: 12:11 03 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:29 03 July 2015

Alex Dowsett - Winner of Verulam Cycling Club event

Alex Dowsett - Winner of Verulam Cycling Club event

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It has already been a big year for Essex born cyclist, Alex Dowsett, who smashed the World Hour Cycling Record with a total distance of 52.937km in May.

He is now about to enter his first Tour de France which begins on Saturday.

Riding for professional cycling team Movistar, Dowsett also contends with haemophilia, a medical condition which impairs blood from clotting.

He has founded the charity Little Bleeders to help people with the condition lead active and productive lifestyles.

The Reporter caught up with him on the eve of his most gruelling challenge yet.

SWR: What does making Le Tour de France team mean to you, both personally and as a career achievement?

AD: It’s been a goal since I turned professional, last year was a bitter disappointment getting ill right at the wrong moment, but that’s life as an athlete. To be honest it’ll be a relief when people ask what I do, and when I say “professional cyclist” and they answer “Oh, like the Tour de France?” I can now say yes instead of explaining that I’m at that level but haven’t competed in it yet.

SWR: It’s already been a huge year for you, what do you feel it takes to attain such achievements in cycling?

AD: A good bit of commitment and a very understanding family and girlfriend. I seem to have gone up a level this year, I’m in a good place mentally and physically and hoping it continues for July at least.

SWR: What are your aims for Le Tour de France?

AD: Personally I’d like the prologue to go as well as possible, after that I’m basically in charge of keeping our team leaders near the front and out of trouble on the flat days and if they ever have to be well positioned within the peloton ahead of a key section of the race.

SWR: Do you think this will help create greater publicity for Little Bleeders?

AD: I do, and hopefully people will buy into one of the main reasons why I do what I do on a bike, just to show that you don’t need to let a bit of adversity hold you back. A positive mind and a bit of a stubborn never-back-down attitude go a long way.

SWR: How do you think Movistar’s chances are looking for Le Tour de France?

AD: Really good. Nairo Quintana is flying and will be a formidable opponent to Froome, Contador and Nibali. We have a really strong team to support him as well.

SWR: How are you feeling about some of the toughest mountain sections of Le Tour?

AD: I won’t lie I’m very nervous about them, there’s going to be some really tough days ahead of me here.

SWR: Do you consider yourself a favourite for the yellow jersey on the first day?

AD: I’d put myself as an outside contender, as it’s so short and flat there’s a lot of rider that can perform well, I just hope I can get everything out!

SWR: Where are your favourite places to cycle in Essex (I know you are a big fan of Knead Food in Great Bardfield)?

AD: Pretty much hit the nail on the head, that’s a regular mid ride food stop, can’t go wrong with a Nandos in the evenings. If I’m after something a bit classier then the Lion Inn in Boreham or restaurant catch in Buckhurst Hill are really good as well.

The Tour de France begins in Utrecht, The Netherlands, on Saturday (July 4). For more information about Little Bleeders visit: www.littlebleeders.com

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