Feature Interview: Ian Bibby

Winner of the Bay Crits Series in January of this year, Chorley GP, Lincoln GP, Velothon Wales and a bronze in the British RR Championships – Ian Bibby could well be the British based rider of the year!

The Video – View the interview on YouTube here

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Feature Interview: Ian Bibby

Winner of the Bay Crits Series almost 12 months ago now, Chorley GP, Lincoln GP, Velothon Wales and a bronze in the British RR Championships – Ian Bibby could well be the British based rider of the year!

January of 2017 and Ian Bibby is already breaking open the champagne, Aussie Champagne after a win at the Bay Crits

That is some record of victories for one rider and in major events as well. If there is a better performing British rider in 2017, here in the UK, by all means let me know but Ian Bibby is certainly in contention for the top honour.

Recently, his team JLT Condor got together and thanks to John Herety for inviting me along to do some interviews and one of those was with Ian Bibby. My archives are full of pictures of Ian who told me he started racing when nine years old, mainly in mountain biking and cyclo-cross.

Ian added he only swapped over to the road seriously when was in his 20’s having dabbled in it a little as a junior. Since turning his attention to the road, Ian has regularly hit the spotlight and his career is packed with highlights, especially in the last three years.

Winner of the British Cyclo-Cross Championship in 2010, Ian added another British title to his name in 2015 with a win in the Circuit Race Championship. He won the Premier Calendar series in 2011 and the Tour of Reservoir that year as well.
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Ian then really exploded onto the road scene in 2015, with a stage win in the RAS, and wins in the Chorley GP and Ryedale GP. In 2016, he won the Manx GP solo, the Wiltshire and Ryedale GP’s and was 3rd at Velothon and Lincoln.

Multiple wins in 2015/2016 and the most yet in one season in 2017 has made him a rider many a team would welcome and this year he rode for John Herety at JLT Condor as he will next year. Asked how he felt about 2017, he replied “I was pretty happy with the season. I was pretty consistent most of the year starting in Oz and then all the way to August time and the Tour of Portugal and Tour of Britain which was a bit of a flat one for me”.

Ian (centre) with his cobble for winning the Lincoln Grand Prix

Asked about highlights of 2017, he says the whole season. “It was nice to start the year off with a win at the Bay Crits and I just enjoyed doing some different races I had not done before like the Tour of Korea and stuff like that. Velothon Wales was a big win and the nationals (bronze) was good too.”

And the biggest win I asked? “I was pretty happy with Velothon which was a UCI 1.1. I’d been on the podium before so it was nice to win that. Lincoln GP, I have been trying to win that for years now so was pretty happy with that win too”.

During the season we had seen his team, JLT Condor controlling races for their sprinter Brenton Jones and when I asked Ian whether the racing was more controlled these days, he replied “Yes, the racing is more controlled than it used to be. A few years ago, it was mental from the gun but now there is more of a break being established and teams having more control and riding more professionally. It’s definitely changed in the last few years and more again this year where with this team, we’d take the race up and control it where as you wouldn’t have got that years ago”.
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Ian’s first race for 2018 is in New Zealand on the 15th of January and he says he usually has quite a lot of time off in winter but added when it comes to hours on the bike, winter is the time to do the most. “Winter is quite hard when it’s like this and you have to do quite a lot because we are racing so early. I’m having to train really hard now as it’s only three or four weeks before we race.”

“But I think I had the best form all year at the start of this year and I think it’s always good to start the year off well and getting off on a roll as there is nothing worse than trying to chase some form”.

Training Aussie style for Ian Bibby in Janauary

“When the weather is reasonable, you have to get in a good day and make the most of it. It is quite hard to plan because you might plan five hours and find it’s snowing and raining and then have a day off when it’s sunny so you just have to play it by ear”.

For many British based riders, the season is still months away so the training may well be fairly easy based miles but for Ian, it is anything but. “There is quite a lot of intensity in the training now. Tim Kennaugh was working with me last year and I was doing loads and loads of sweetspots … that’s below time trial pace; an uncomfortable pace, and we do three half hour blocks of it and by the time you do four hours with three of them, it’s a tough day.”

Asked when he does the most hours in a week’s training, Ian says “during the winter. I’ll do around 23 to 26 hours and they’re back to back because you’re not backing off for a race. During the season, you’ll race, have Monday off, training Tuesday and Thursday, short ride Friday and Saturday and then race again. So you end up having a lot of easy days where as in the winter, you’re not backing off and you just keep ploughing on”.

“It’s a tough time of the year to be doing it but once you get into the season it’s okay especially this year compared to other years because we were doing stages races. When you’re just doing one day races, you have to train more but with stage races, it’s race, week easy, race … I enjoy that a lot more, racing and then resting”.

Huge solo win for Ian Bibby at the Chorley Grand Prix, his ‘local’

Looking ahead, the Australian trip will be a bit shorter this year for Ian and his team which he says will be better. “It was seven weeks last year and there was a big gap between the crits and the Sun Tour whereas this year, we arrive and do a week in Australia, go to New Zealand and then return to Australia for another week and then it’s the Sun Tour. I think it will go quicker with two stage races and then when we come back, I think Taiwan will be the next one”.

Looking ahead to 2018, and asked what the goals will be, he says it will all depend on things like where the nationals are for instance. That was a big highlight for me, not the medal so much but the way I rode and how I didn’t feel out of my depth. I have the cyclo-cross, the MTB and crit titles so the road would be nice for me”.

And cyclo-cross I asked finally, will we see you back in the mud? “I am tempted” he says. “Every winter I consider it but it’s almost impossible at the moment because on the 5th of January we’re off to Australia… With the schedule, I would only get in a couple of races and for half those I wouldn’t be that fit so I will do eventually when the season starts later for me, I’ll do a cross season, but at the moment it’s too big a commitment”.

Good luck to Ian and the team for 2018!



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