Ian Bibby’s Look at the Tour of Reservoir


Winner last week at Chorley, Ian Bibby says Tour of Reservoir will suit the stronger riders able to get over the shorter climbs

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Ian Bibby’s look at the Tour of Reservoir

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The second round of the season long national series for the Star Trophy starts on Saturday with races for the Men and also the Women and the start of their national series. Arriving at midday, I popped over to a hotel that is now a popular stopping point for the race thanks to NFTO team manager Dave Povall.


At least three teams were already there and at 3pm, the NFTO riders were ready to roll out and get the travel out of their legs and take a look at the course. Most riders in the men’s race already know the roads for the first stage as it’s been used for a long time when the race was a single day event and also now that it’s a two day event.

After many hours in the car though, a little pedal in the sun is good for the legs and head and with team owner John Wood in the car behind whilst DS Mr Povall got stuck into the race prep at the hotel, the riders set off for the Derwent Reservoir circuit. Before they set off though, the Chorley Grand Prix winner Ian Bibby spoke to VeloUK about the race, starting with his victory in 2011 (below).


“A bit of a group went early on that day” Ian explained. “I left it really late though and jumped across on the last lap, getting there I think with three quarters of a lap to go. There was a bit of attacking into the finish which is different to the one this year. It was a really fast run in (at the end of the dam wall)” and I won the sprint”.


“It is a funny finish now, almost a sprint but a really hard one. It is a better finish now though and suits the rider who has the most left in his legs at the end.”

Asked about the circuit which is rolling, Ian says “the race is like Chorley in that it’s a wearing down process. It’s up and down and gradually gets to you and by the last lap, riders are on their knees. Everyone will roll over the hills early on but the last three laps will definitely see gaps open and you can do some damage if you have a lot left in the tank”.


Recalling Raleigh’s Evan Oliphant’s (above) win in 2013 where he attacked up the hill to the feed zone, Ian added “that is what I mean, it’s a real wearing down process and by the end if you have any sort of legs left, you can do that sort of damage and get away as Evan has done the last few years”.

“If anyone is not on a good day, you’ll soon be found out!”

“None of the climbs are as severe as the ones at Chorley, it’s just grippy all day. There isn’t a decisive moment like there was at Chorley (the Belmont climb) where the climbers can jump away. I think it will suit some of the bigger stronger lads who will get over the shorter climbs and have a lot of strength left”.

On the Sunday, for the men, the Tour of the Reservoir will use both the ‘normal Derwent Reservoir circuit and the Blanchland one which goes up through the moors and on a bad day, can be bloody awful. “The climb on that circuit is quite extreme” says Ian.

“It’s a good but strange circuit that one” Ian added. “Over the last few years, it’s been so windy, the descent has been really sketchy . I remember getting over the climb and the descent was so windy people were being blown into the gutter. Apparently it’s going to be windy on Sunday (40 mph winds).”


Last year Ian attacked at the foot of the climb on the opening lap of circuit and he says “it’s a tough climb that one. I went early because when it’s so windy, an early move can go and stay away. The circuit is literally up all the way to the turn and then down. It’s a circuit where you have to be really wary especially on the cattle grids and over the top.”

Asked how he feels the race may compare to Chorley the week before, Ian replied “I think we’ll see the same riders at the front (last weekend it was NFTO and Raleigh) but it will be more open. The first day won’t see a decisive moment like Chorley with the move going on the big climb. I think One Pro will do something this week though after they weren’t on the podium last weekend.”

“I think they’ll be really keen so we’ll have to watch out for them. You have JLT as well with Handley and if (Tom) Moses is anything like he was last year, then he’ll be very hard to deal with. Madison (Genesis) are also a good strong group of riders and they’ll be pretty good. They raced Tour of Normandy and have had another week to come round after that.”

Finally, I asked Ian if having had his first win in a Prem for a long time, in a new team, was a lot of weight off his shoulders? “It kind of is but kind of isn’t because I want to prove myself to be consistent. I have won and so did the team but you can’t relax”.

“We have a lot of strength in depth in the team and have lots of areas covered with Steele’s sprint, climbers and so on. The team wants to be winning most weekends so whether it’s me or Eddy, Steele, Jonny or any of the others, we can’t relax because we want to show we’re one of the top teams and there’s no reason why we can’t keep winning.”


Finally, it’s only the second race of the season and when asked how he felt his form was at Chorley, Ian explained “I was feeling really good at Chorley but you never really know what the form is like without racing.”

“I thought I’d be knocking round the front though. During the first few laps, you start getting sore legs and you’re thinking ‘am I the only one here’, but you soon know when it goes really hard and you realise the legs are good.”

Good legs indeed as Ian at Chorley climbed with the best and then attacked the only two riders left, his teammate Eddie Dunbar and Raleigh’s Steve Lampier. That attack was enough to give him that first win but there will be teams with a lot of hunger for redemption after Chorley and it will be interesting to see whether the race splits or there is a bunch kick…

Bring it on ….


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