Season review: Jon Dibben

14 Nov 2017

Season review: Jon Dibben

Related riders

Share this article

Next up in our season review series is Jon Dibben, who reflects on his first professional win at the Tour of California, his transition from track to road, and picking up tips from Christian Knees.

Best moment of the season

My best moment of the year would have to be my win in the Tour of California’s time trial. It wasn’t really a race I’d massively targeted but I knew the form was good and it all came together for a really good performance on the day. That’s my big highlight looking back. I wanted to approach the year with the hope that I would be at a good, similar level across all of my races and not especially target anything specific. I wanted to get the first year under my belt and see what suited me. But in retrospect I look back now and I had an altitude camp just before California, I’d had a good block of racing coming off the Classics, so that’s why I think the form was good in Cali.

I’ve always enjoyed time trialling - and I think you do have to enjoy it. It’s a bit of a weird one, just going out by yourself on your time trial bike and putting yourself on the limit. I’ve always done well in them, so I hope to progress that next year. 
Jon on his way to winning the Tour of California's time trial

Jon on his way to winning the Tour of California's time trial

Most enjoyable race

The Tour of California was good for me and it was really good fun over there, but strangely enough I’d almost say the Tour of Guangxi. It was very late into the season and everyone there had obviously had to train a bit longer than they may have wanted to to finish the season, but once the travel was over, we had a really good group of guys there and it was a good laugh. The racing wasn’t too complicated, the roads were big and well surfaced, we got stuck into the action and we were always laughing around the dinner table. It nearly went wrong though! I’ve gone the whole season, pretty much, without crashing. I’ve had a couple of moments where I’ve been off the bike - in Paris-Roubaix I went into a barrier and broke my wheel, but not really crashed. Then on the last day in Guangxi Danny [Van Poppel] wasn’t feeling so good and I was next in line for the sprint.

For me to win that sprint I really needed to take risks to be in the right place to go for it, and I went for a little gap in the last couple of kilometres and came down on a right hander. I went down, hit my ribs, and because I knew I was at the front I was praying nobody hit me. You’re there on the floor waiting for the hit to come - that wouldn’t have been the ideal way to end the season! In the end, I was OK.
null

Hardest race

The Tour de Suisse. The terrain was brutal, it’s really not where I’m at my strongest - in those high mountains. There were a couple of time trials, but we had four days up in the mountains and everyone at the race was saying how hard it was. The riders make the race and for those four days in the hills it went full gas every day. That was tough. I really didn’t have my best form of the season there, but I still did my job for the team; I still got through it. That was a big plus, just to get through it. 
Best teammate

I’m going to say Kneesy [Christian Knees]. Obviously I didn’t know him before coming to the team and then I did all of the Classics with him. He’s an experienced guy and that’s how I saw him before the race, but you quickly realise how enthusiastic he still is for all of those races and in those races you’ve got to risk your body - put your body on the line to get through gaps, go hard through corners, and he was there leading the charge, taking all the risks. I took a lot from that, and all of the little bits he says - he’s been doing it for 15 years, so it’s good to listen to him. 
null

Jon Dibben

Jon Dibben

I’ll look towards the sharper end of the races and try to progress everything I’ve done.
Goal for 2018

There’s a lot that I’m looking to change and improve upon for next year. I went into this year very open minded - it was my first season as a pro, my first year on the team, but it’s also very much my first season doing road and that’s maybe been an even bigger change than I thought. Doing this volume of racing and training, your body changes a lot. I’ve naturally got a good two or three minute burst of speed and power from my track days, but maybe I lost that a bit in the middle of the year. That was just because I used to train that a lot on the track, so next year I might have to look at that. I’ll look towards the sharper end of the races and try to progress everything I’ve done. Also, with Danny and Elia both leaving - our two sprinters - we’ll have just one sprinter on the team, in Kristoffer [Halvorsen], so hopefully there’ll be some opportunities for me to get stuck into some sprints in some of the smaller races.
Jon Dibben

Jon Dibben

That’s the level you have to be at - rock up, knock out a 212km stage.
Biggest change

A year ago I was living in Manchester. I was part of British Cycling, doing track and road, a mix, and now I’ve moved down to France, training in the sun and the hills. In China we had a 212km stage, with 7km neutral. That’s the level you have to be at - rock up, knock out a 212km stage. That’s definitely been a big change. Then there’s the level. You know it’s the WorldTour so it’s going to be hard, but then you see it, the level it takes to win at those races. It’s impressive.

Best piece of advice

Servais [Knaven] has given me some of the best tips, but I would go back to Kneesy again. Before Roubaix he said, ‘Look guys, we’re a team. We really want to be at the front at the key points. If you’re there, that’s fine, you should be there - but if you’re not there you better have crashed, otherwise there’s no excuse.’ That’s his attitude. 
null

Share this article