Rider Chat – Crit Champ Ian Bibby


What month it is for Ian Bibby as the NFTO rider wins the Crit Champs after his Ryedale GP victory two weeks ago.

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Rider Chat – Crit Champ Ian Bibby


The circuit race championship is always an important one for British riders with so much of the season having a criterium bias but it’s difficult to know who’s up for it and who will play safe knowing they have the Tour of Britain and Ride London on the horizon.


When it started to rain in Barnsley, and there were crashes in the Women’s race, I was quite concerned for the riders who I know have big hopes for the forthcoming UCI races. One of those was Ian Bibby who has sensational form on the road.

Crashes will happen anytime but the risk is greater in a crit with the barriers and so on, and wet paving slabs as well. But, Bibby, like all the riders on the start were not fazed and the race was on as soon as they crossed the line after the neutralised opening lap.

I watched as they passed the start finish in between doing twitter updates and noticed Ian was a long way back and the peloton had little splits all over the place. There was no need to worry though because as riders dropped away, Ian, along with his teammates, were in the ‘selection’ and waiting for their moment.

For Ian, that came with two laps to go as they crossed the finished line and he made his move. Kristian House of JLT Condor looked behind but no-one was chasing Bibby down and the gap opened. Whilst the riders behind waited for their own moments, Bibby put his head down and kept what was a small gap, but big enough for him to celebrate a great win.


Having posted pictures of previous winners, the overriding memory of this event is a group sprint but just liked at Ryedale on a uphill finish, Bibby had gapped his rivals and solo’d in to a memorable victory.

After the podium presentation, the NFTO rider said “I’m extremely happy!” and then explained how it’s been a while between drinks (champagne of course) in crits with a few second places and so on in this year’s Tour Series.

“I was up for this one having not won one for a few years but it wasn’t expected. I knew when I heard it was a tough course, I thought it would suit me so I thought I’ll have a good go.”

The riders at NFTO have not been under any pressure in the crits of late as the boss John Wood guides them more to gaining success on the road which has already seen a victory at Ryedale. That strategy also paid off in the crit champs. “We were able to come here and enjoy it which is what we did and got on with it”.

“John said we’re not going to drag you to the crits every week so pick which ones you want to do and that’s worked out good”.


Talking us through the race, Ian explained “I didn’t get a great start as I was quite far back so I thought ‘don’t panic’ and so I waited and picked my time to go round people who were being dropped”

“I felt alright and with around six to go, I had a dig and it split to a group of five or six so I could tell who was on the limit and I left Kristian (House) on the front for three laps to tire himself out and thought when I go, Rapha will have no-one left and there weren’t many One Pro Cyclings at the front”.

“I thought two to go would be a good time so I jumped them up the hill and just went flat out.”

“With about half a lap to go, I felt I had it won and took it steady on the last few bends and made sure I didn’t crash.”

“The circuit was good. I didn’t get a chance to warm up and had done three laps before and it was really wet then and I was thinking this is ridiculous, so dangerous, but I think it looked worse than it was. Luckily it did dry up a bit. I let my tyres down because I thought I’d lose a lot more time on the corners than I will going up the hill so I took a leaf out of my cross book (a former British champion) and let them down.”


Ian and the NFTO team looking forward to the Tour of Britain

Whilst up for the Circuit Race championship, Bibby also has other major goals and so is doing plenty of work on the road. “After Ryedale, I did a big four day block, two days at home and then we (NFTO) did stage 2 of the Tour of Britain which is on roads near my house. Six hours we rode, and then we did another four hours on the Penrith stage in the freezing rain on the Sunday”.

“So before these champs, I had two easy days and luckily I came round a bit for this because I was quite tired the last day of the recce.”

Asked to give us an insiders view of stage 2 of the Tour of Britain, Ian explained “ “it’s a pretty hard grippy day from Clithero, past my parent’s house and within five minutes of my house and on to Colne. It’s where I ride so I’ll have a lot of people supporting me making it a big stage for me.”

“It’s pretty hard stage too and will see the race split up and probably finish with a small group sprint but it does depend how they race it. Sometimes you think it’s going to be hard and it isn’t but it will definitely be a grippy day being up and down all day.”


Champion again, this time the circuit race championship. Also on the podium was Graham Briggs and George Atkins

“We also did stage 5 in Cumbria as well and on the final climb (a summit finish), I’m not sure what damage will be done. It is eight kilometres long but not that steep. It will split up but I don’t think it will be as bad as it seems”.

“It’s not as hard as Haytor and so on so shouldn’t split it as much. But, you never know what effect the wind will have and it is a hard stage. It’s going to be a hard week to be honest.”

“I’m really looking forward to the Tour of Britain. I have always bought into the Tour of Britain and some years, it hasn’t worked out whilst 2010/11, it was really good. In 2012, I was riding for JT and had good form there and then the last two years, when I’ve been really up for it, it hasn’t quite worked out”.

“This year I’m really going for it and will try and ride for GC and have a good go at it”.

If his form of late is anything to go, a high GC place in the Tour of Britain for Bibby is on the cards which would top off his best season to date just nicely ….


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