Jon Dibben sprinted to third place in the Paris-Roubaix Juniors on Sunday, finishing behind Mads Schmidt of Denmark and Anthony Turgis of France.
The 119km race, which takes place two hours before the senior edition, joins up with the Paris-Roubaix course after the Arenberg Forest and includes 16 sectors of cobbles.
Dibben, who placed one better than last year, told CW at the finish that the decisive splits came around the Carrefour de l’Arbre sector with less than 20km to go.
“It was cobbles, and then just more cobbles, and it split across there. It was just hard,” he said. “It was headwind or crosswind, so every time I was either slowing up because I didn’t want to be in the wind, or smashing it.”
Dibben joins an illustrious list of riders who have placed on the podium in the junior race, including Geraint Thomas, Andy Fenn and Ian Stannard; the latter tackling the senior race later that day. Although disappointed not to have placed higher, he was happy with his ride.
“Coming up to the end there, I didn’t even know where I’d come across the line,” he admitted. “The cobbles were harder than they were last year, maybe because there was a lot of fighting in the bunch coming into every sector.
“I was hoping to win, but I’m happy with third; I got on the podium and it’s better than last year. It was a good ride.”
Team mates Sam Lowe and Harry Tanfield finished in 14th and 18th respectively. Lowe, like Dibben, was riding the race for a second year and was pleased not to succumb to the many crashes.
“It was easier this year,” he said. “Last year I crashed before the cobbles even started.
“I cramped up massively at the end there, I missed the feed zone and I had to survive off two bottles. That’s one of those things though isn’t it.”
Paris-Roubaix Juniors, 119km
1. Mads Würtz Schmidt (Denmark) 3:01:32
2. Anthony Turgis (France)
3. Jon Dibben (Great Britain)
4. Martin Otonicar (Slovenia)
5. Markus Hoelgård (Norway)
6. Joachim Vanreyten (Belgium)
7. Federico Zurlo (Italy)
8. Félix Pouilly (France)
9. Ricardo Van Dongen (Netherlands)
10. Mads Pedersen (Denmark)
14. Sam Lowe (Great Britain)
18. Harry Tanfield (Great Britain)