Rider Announcement: Freddy Ovett

The casual observer might know the name Ovett more for athletics rather than cycling, but Freddy Ovett has been plying his trade as a pro cyclist for some years.

Riding for teams like Israel Cycling Academy, BMC and L39ION of Los Angeles since 2016, in 2022 Freddy tried a couple of gravel races, and last year began racing gravel full time.

The 30 year-old naturalised Australian had intended to race the 2023 edition of The Gralloch but a crash scuppered those plans. Now he’s back and fit with some good results already under his belt this year, and will be heading to Gatehouse of Fleet with more than just the race on his mind.

FO:  “I was born in Dumfries, I spent the first seven years of my life there. I’m obviously incredibly excited about the race itself but almost more excited about returning to my roots and having a look around and seeing if I can remember a few things when they’re there in front of me.

"I don’t think it could be any more fitting to return to where I was born and where it all started."

The Gralloch: How are you at climbing?

FO: “It’s definitely my strength as a cyclist. Being on the lighter end and coming from a running background always helps with threshold and power to weight, so I’m pretty keen to have a look at the course and I’m hoping for it to be as hard as possible.”

The Gralloch: You’ll be pleased to know the opening 11km are up hill

FO: “I really endorse climbing starts in gravel races purely for the safety factor. It it really strings out the field nicely and after the climb is done you've really found where you belong in the race and you can then go about your day in a more relaxed and safe enjoyable manner.”

The Gralloch: Why the switch from road to full time gravel?

FO: “A lot of different reasons go into that but it comes comes down to who I am as a person. When you're racing with these big professional teams, you don't really have much of a say in anything. Not in your training, not in your nutrition, not in your race calendar. Not in how you would like to race the race tactically. And that's not really who I am as a person. I'm a little bit more individual type of character and I like to think about things in my own way and how to approach things.

“I realised that if there was an opportunity where I could do be a professional cyclist in any individual manner that's something I would do, the problem was there wasn't anything until gravel came along. Now we are called privateers where only a handful of guys are fortunate enough to be in this position and I'm lucky that I'm one of them.

“I had some success in some gravel races just for fun in the US in ‘22, and that drew attention to some of the sponsors, it was quite clear that this was it just a much better option for me to be happier career wise.”

The Gralloch: You come from a running background and you did 2.37 in a marathon a couple of years back, how do you mix up the training?

FO: “Genetically there’s some background, so yes it comes easy and let’s not forget that I did it very seriously ever since I was eight years-old to 20, that was my career path.

“First and foremost cycling is my job, it’s what I get paid to do by all my sponsors, so you know, when I plan my week or my day, you know, it's completely oriented around the bike. And if I find that I have some spare time or in the week or my girlfriend is going for a run or or something like that, then yeah, I'll just go for a jog purely for enjoyment purposes. 

"It just makes me happier. It makes me more relaxed. So I encourage anyone to do anything that they enjoy whether that's running or whatever. I think a lot of professionals think that if they run too much or go to the gym too much it's going to it's going to affect them, but what what they maybe don't consider is the fact that it the positive sort of vibes and energy and happiness it can give you.”

The Gralloch: Were you always destined to be some sort of athlete with your parentage? (Freddy’s father is middle distance running star, Steve.)

FO: “Yeah, I've always been very competitive and endurance sort of sport has always come very naturally to me. So it was quite obvious from an early age that this is something that I was better at than most of the kids around me at least. And like anything in life if you're good at it, you tend to enjoy it, don't you?

“Running was the first path that I took and then it eventually led me to cycling.”

This year Freddy will be sponsored by Zwift, Specialized, Pho3nix Foundation, Quad Lock and MAAP. You can follow him on Instagram at @freddyovett.