For sale here on eBay is one of Alex Dowsett's Trek Madone bikes from 2010: the year he rode for under-23 development team Trek-Livestrong, which is now Hagens Berman Axeon, and still the same Axel Merckx-led development outfit that provides a stepping stone to the WorldTour for a number of young riders – as it did for Dowsett.
Dowsett was already making waves – particularly against the clock – in the UK and Europe before being picked up for the Lance Armstrong-founded Trek-Livestrong squad for the 2010 season on the back of his seventh place in the under-23 time trial at the 2009 World Championships, held in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
In 2010, he was thrown in at the deep end at the Tour of Qatar, and then swam through the Tour of Oman, races in the US, including the Tour of the Gila and the Tour of Utah, and won the U23 European time trial title in Ankara, Turkey, that July, before finishing the season with a win against the clock at the Chrono des Herbiers.
He came out of it with a professional contract, too, with WorldTour-level Team Sky for the following year, and Dowsett subsequently took a fine solo stage win on the fifth stage – a road stage – of the 2011 Tour du Poitou Charentes in Poitiers, France, but the now 31-year-old would go on to specialise as a time triallist.
In 2013, Dowsett moved on to pastures new at Spanish WorldTour outfit Movistar, and swiftly impressed his new employers by winning a stage at what was his first Grand Tour – the Giro d'Italia – where he won the stage 8 time trial from Gabicce Mare to Saltara by 10 seconds from former Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins.
In 2015, Dowsett set a new Hour Record, beating current time trial world champion Rohan Dennis' mark to record 52.937km. Dowsett's record was subsequently beaten by Wiggins the following month, but Dowsett went on to win a stage and the overall title at the Bayern Rundfahrt in Germany, two weeks after his Hour Record, as well as three more national time-trial titles – taking him to what is now six.
Time-trial stage victories at the 2016 Tour de Pologne and the 2017 Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, followed, before a move to the Katusha-Alpecin squad for 2018, where the by-then experienced Dowsett played more of a domestique's role, and often featured as part of the team's sprinters' lead-out trains.
'Too good' for a development-team bike?
Some years ago, the sports director of a now-defunct development team opined that his riders shouldn't be on top-of-the-range equipment as he thought it made them lack the hunger to do better in order to 'upgrade' once, and if, they joined a professional team.
It was a reasonable-enough argument, but the riders at Trek-Livestrong were already enjoying the best of the best, with Dowsett and his teammates riding top-of-the-range Trek Madones with deep-section Bontrager wheels and integrated bars and stems, all hung with SRAM's prestige Red groupset, which is what you're getting here – if you stump up £2,500 (US$3,140) to the UK-based seller (collection only). There were WorldTour teams with bikes only half as good.
And things certainly worked out for a number of that year's Trek-Livestrong roster. Graduates to WorldTour teams from the 2010 squad included Nathan Brown, the recently retired Taylor Phinney and Ben King. There were two Ben Kings on the team that year, in fact: the American one, now at NTT, and an Australian one, who's since retired from elite racing.
The seller also writes that some of Dowsett's Trek-Livestrong clothing is being thrown in, too – presumably in the same design as that worn by Dowsett and Phinney in the picture above, although the seller hasn't posted any pictures.
This Trek-Livestrong bike and kit might be part of Dowsett's history from what is now over a decade ago, but the now Israel Start-Up Nation man is surely not done yet, and with Chris Froome's recent transfer, 2021 could be Dowsett's biggest season yet.
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