Talking Shop with Prem Leader Ian Bibby

Exclusive: VeloUK talks to the Premier Calendar leader about the series, the Tour of Britain and the winter ahead and some ‘cross perhaps?

Winning the Tour of Reservoir was Ian’s frst win in a Premier Calendar and with a big lead over teammate Jonny McEvoy, winning the series is almost a certainity. That said, it’s the race wins that riders like Ian and others want more… to get the hands, one or both, is always a special feeling!

LINK: Twinings Premier Calendar Event ProAm Preview

With two rounds to go in the Premier Calendar, and a maximum of 200 points on offer for anyone who wants to challenge for the overall win, Motorpoint’s Ian Bibby is the current leader, 74 points clear of teammate Jonathan McEvoy  and 75 ahead of Zak Dempster currently racing for HTC-Highroad.

Like it is for many riders, Ian Bibby admits that the series was not so much a target at the start of the year and that winning individual races was always the goal. Now that he is leading it, keeping that lead is a priority. He started well in the series at DoonHame (Scotland) with a fourth overall and then went into the classic Lincoln Grand Prix really aiming to win the race.

“The Lincoln was a big one for us and I was disappointed not to win” he says. “You just go out trying to win every race and I have ended up leading the series.  Every Premier is a good race so you want to win it.”

It’s a view that is shared by Rapha’s team manager John Herety who said recently  “I’m not a big fan of the Premier Calendar series having an overall though because it interferes with the individual races. I would prefer them to be classics in their own right so the main thing was to win the race and not ride to win the Premier Calendar overall.”

Ian was in attacking form last weekend in York but despite throwing everything he had bar his bike at Ed Clancy, he wasn’t able to prevent the Olympic champion from winning.

One of Rapha Condor sharp’s main rivals for wins in the Premier Calendar races will be Motorpoint and Bibby says the team is stronger on the road than they were last year but on the flip side, seem to be lacking in the crits despite a strong showing in the final of the Halfords Tour Series where Bibby’s teammate Jonny McEvoy enjoyed one of his big wins in 2011.

An example of their strength on the road, in the Tour of Reservoir, Bibby lead a 1-2 and admits that finally winning a Premier Calendar race felt good. “I got close last year with seconds and won crits but not a Premier so that was good to do”.

Ian has also enjoyed success on the road abroad, winning a stage of the Cinturon Stage Race in Majorca and getting close to more wins in Portugal with a second and third.  He goes on to say that he feels he’s done less stage races this year, and shorter ones as well but the win in Cinturon continued a good run in that race for him.

Talking about Cinturon he says “I won the time trial last year and this year was leading that stage too until the last rider went off so winning one of the other stages was good. To get a stage win abroad is always a great feeling”.

Probably even better for Ian, or any of the British based riders will be a stage win in the Tour of Britain, a race Ian says he’s really looking forward to.  Ian was second on a stage last year, that one up Constitution Hill, and admits he’s heard the route isn’t as hard as last year. Some may say different if reports on stages are anything to go by.

“If we get some results on the stages we’ll be happy. To change the second to a first would be better! It will more or less be our last race of the season so it will be good to get a result.”

“I think the podium on the GC would be very hard but a top 10 would be doable. If however, I was going to choose a top 10 overall or a stage win, I’d go for the stage win every time. With all the teams that the race gets now, to win the GC is near impossible.”

Asked to describe the race, Ian says, “It’s more controlled and quite a different style of racing which we don’t get to do very often.  It would be good to perform well as it’s the biggest race of the year for us.”

Finally, once the road season is done and dusted and the road race bikes put away, will we see Ian doing some cyclo-cross this winter? “I’ll see how I am after the Tour of Britain as to whether I go straight in and have a break later or have a break first.”

“A lot of what I do in ‘cross will depend the plans for next year but I’d like to have a good go at the nationals again (Ian won them a few years ago). I got ill last year and left it a bit late to get fit but I do love my cross racing and you can’t shy away from the nationals!”

Good luck to Ian this weekend in the Twinings ProAm where he will be wearing number 1

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