Wain Doull on 2018 hopes

Doull Relishing New Season

Owain Doull feels all the experiences gained in his first season as a pro will stand him in good stead heading into 2018.

By his own admission the Welshman enjoyed an ‘up and down’ campaign after turning pro with Team Sky.

Doull was all set to start the Tour Down Under in 2017 but ended up having his appendix removed after an emergency late night visit to Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Twelve months on he’s relishing the opportunity to tackle the race, with the benefit of a full season under his belt.

The 24 year old explained: “My first year with Team Sky was pretty up and down to be honest. I’d say overall there were more positives than negatives and I learnt a lot. In that regard I feel positive about coming into 2018. All those experiences have brought me on a lot as an athlete and as a person. I’m really looking forward to trying to step up again in 2018.”

Central to the learning process last year was watching how the team’s more experienced riders went about their job. Doull highlights two riders as having a particular impact.

“There’s been a couple of guys who have helped me out this year,” added the Cardiff-born rider.

“Luke Rowe is a rider I aspire to be like in the future – someone who does the Classics in the beginning of the year and then makes that transition into the bigger tours for the second half of the year. Seeing how he goes about it, how he operates, how he trains, his professionalism as well, has been really good this year.

“Then in the races, a guy like Kwiato (Michal Kwiatkowski). The way he approaches the races, regardless of what scenario you’re in, or the situation, or how he’s feeling, he always wants to try to win, either himself or with the team, and always comes up with a plan to go about that. That’s a really cool thing to see. Those two guys I would pinpoint as being the most influential.”

Owain Doull begins his recovery in hospital bed after appendix operation.

Doull’s Full Q&A

On his first year with Team Sky
“My first year with Team Sky was pretty up and down to be honest. I’d say overall there were more positives than negatives and I learnt a lot. In that regard I feel positive about coming into 2018. All those experiences have brought me on a lot as an athlete and as a person. I’m really looking forward to trying to step up again in 2018.”

On learning from Luke Rowe and Michal Kwiatkowski at Team Sky
“There’s been a couple of guys who have helped me out this year. Luke Rowe is a rider I aspire to be like in the future – someone who does the Classics in the beginning of the year and then makes that transition into the bigger tours for the second half of the year. Seeing how he goes about it, how he operates, how he trains, his professionalism as well, has been really good this year.

“Then in the races, a guy like Kwiato. The way he approaches the races, regardless of what scenario you’re in, or the situation, or how he’s feeling, he always wants to try to win, either himself or with the team, and always comes up with a plan to go about that. That’s a really cool thing to see. Those two guys I would pinpoint as being the most influential.”

 On focussing on the Classics in 2018

“My main focus for this year is the Classics again. I was fortunate enough to do all the big ones last year, Flanders, Roubaix, and even a couple in the Ardennes, and it really gave me the bug for it.

“Hopefully this year I’ll have a bit of a smoother run through and a more consistent start to the year, which will then hopefully help me be part of the Classics group again. I think it’s going to be pretty hard to make the teams, again like last year, with it being such a strong squad. But that’s my main focus.

“I grew up watching them and they’re the races I want to do well in and I’ve always targeted. But this year after riding them for the first time, you really get the scale and the magnitude of them. I remember after doing Flanders this year, the next day I was already thinking about Flanders next year. What I can change, how I can be better, and how much further into the race I’d like to go. Those are the races for me and the reason I get out of bed in the morning.”

On the young talent at Team Sky

“It’s really interesting now if you look at the team you can almost cut it in half with two different groups. You’ve got the older guys who are really in their prime and at the top of their game, and on the flip side you’ve got a lot of guys who are under 25, just starting out, and there’s not that many guys in the middle in that range.

“So to be part of that future generation with what Sky are trying to do, build for the future, and really invest in the future of cycling, it’s exciting to be a part of that group and it’s motivating and inspiring when you see all these other young, talented people from all over the world in one team with a common goal. It’s really exciting.”

On being a British rider with Team Sky and racing at home

“The Tour of Britain last year without a doubt was probably my favourite race, and that had a lot to do with being back in the UK and the support we got from the UK fans. Obviously I’ve ridden the Tour of Britain a number of times and raced the Tour de Yorkshire with Team Wiggins and that experience was amazing in itself, but when you do it for Sky it’s a whole other level.

“I don’t know how to describe it, it’s almost the closest thing you could feel to playing at home if you’re an athlete. Every day you’ve got people lining up, there’s queues outside the bus, everyone is so friendly, so supportive, so that was a really special moment this year, especially with the group we had there – G [Geraint Thomas], being Welsh as well, Tao [Geoghegan-Hart], who I’ve grown up with in cycling, and the crowds and the support of the UK fans made it massive.”

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