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David Hewett – “I’m totally committed to chasing the dream”

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David Hewett
David Hewett.

They’re not all going to make it; some do – Dan McLay, Adam Blythe, Jack Bauer

But they keep heading for the Heartland.

And we’ve got another name for you to conjure with; David Hewett, is on the kermis trail in search of that elusive crisp World Tour contract – here’s his tale…

What’s your UK background David, how did you get into the sport?

“I got into cycling pretty late at the age of 18 when I bought a road bike along with a group of friends from sixth form. Before that, I was a bit of an overweight teenager, although still involved in a range of sports throughout school.

“I cycled every now and then for a while, including doing a 100 mile sportive around the Surrey hills after only about 20 hours of riding experience!

“After 18 months, when I moved to university and got more involved with the cycling club there, I tried out 4th cat racing and was hooked.”

David Hewett
David riding for the Cambridge CC. Photo©Sportograf

What are your UK palmarès like?

“Obviously I missed out on the usual experience of progressing through the junior ranks into U23, which I’ve realised can quickly shut a lot of team and funding doors unfortunately despite me still only having just turned 22 last month.

“Personally, I’d say that was maybe a bit of an old, close-minded cycling tradition.

“I’ve had two years of serious racing – last year, I starting training properly and raced a full season for the first time. I got my 1st cat licence 13 months after being a 4th cat and won the Tour of Sussex 3-day Regional A race as a solo rider without a team around me.

“I also got a few top 10s in National B road races which were obviously a step up from the 4th cat crits I’d been doing up until then – I think it’s fair to say I make a lot of mistakes last year but also learnt a huge amount and developed massively as a rider.

“My progress seemed to catch the eye of Tim Elverson, who offered me a ride on the Pedal Heaven Excel Academy for this season.

“I also got my first taste of the Belgian kermis scene, and it was immediately clear why everyone says the racing there is mental, but totally brilliant.

“This year, I got a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in National Bs in the spring (one year on from racing my first National B!) before having time off for my university finals exams and then training hard towards my summer move to Belgium.”

David Hewett
Nothing wrong with David’s cornering technique. Photo©Hugh McManus

Why Flanders?

“Whilst I am very keen to return to Belgium, I had actually spent quite some time looking into racing in Spain or France next year, because I know that at a good race weight I’d be producing some very competitive numbers on the climbs and could perform there.

“I’m keen not to pigeonhole myself as a classics rider at this stage, as I think there’s always the potential of being a competitive GC rider in hillier terrain too.

“I had some promising emails from one of the top Spanish amateur and French DN1 teams, but wasn’t able to secure anything for this season.

“I’m very happy to be in Flanders again next year with PCT Tomacc though, as I still think it’s one of the best places in the world to be for learning the race craft and developing as a rider.

“You only have to look at the way in which Belgium recently dominated the crosswind section at the World Champs in Doha to realise that fundamentally they know how to race bikes when it gets tough, arguably better than anyone else, and they’ve learnt that from growing up racing in areas like Flanders.

“Some people seem to find racing flat race courses frustrating because it allows riders to hide in the wheels and doesn’t make selections based on power like it may do in the mountains, but I see that as a brilliant opportunity to learn from the best and understand how to win bike races. It might not be a fast track to big results or a flashy team that gives you bikes or whatever, but long term I think it’s the way to go.”

David Hewett
David is happy at PCT Tomacc. Photo©Mario Verhaeghe

How long were you there for and where were you based?

“I headed off to Poperinge in West Flanders a few weeks after I graduated from university in the summer.

“I spent six weeks living in the team house of PCT Tomacc, a BVB team I was guest riding for in kermises and InterClub races.

“Poperinge is a great location – it’s only about five kilometres from the lovely concrete/bike path free roads on the other side of the French border, it’s 45mins from the Dunkirk ferry port so I can be back on my doorstep at home in about three hours all in, and the town itself is pretty nice with a good centrum of bars and cafés.”

David Hewett.
David hammers an InterClub for PCT Tomacc. Photo©Donald Peuteman

I read you’re a vegan, doesn’t that make life difficult?

“It’s something that I’d experimented with at university, but I didn’t have the time to really understand everything behind it fully and establish it as a core part of my lifestyle whilst studying and training full time – back then, life was pretty hectic.

“Once I graduated, there was no reason to not follow a vegan lifestyle and in Belgium I had a couple of vegan friends from Australia who were able to guide me.

“To answer the question, it doesn’t make life difficult at all. For a start, it’s generally cheaper, and it automatically makes my diet cleaner and more nutritious by bolstering my intake of whole foods such as fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes and cutting out the rubbish. Not to mention the massive environmental, health and ethical implications.

“I’m spending less money, to eat more healthily, get leaner, have a fract