After spent the first five months of his professional career working for others, Jon Dibben was understandably delighted to take his first pro win at the Tour of California, revealing that a top 20 finish would have been satisfactory enough.
The 23-year-old Team Sky rider blasted around the 24km time trial course on stage six of the Tour of California, setting a time of 28-27 that was enough to hold off the general classification contenders, even with Dibben easing off 50m from the line.
“When I crossed the line I didn’t know I’d set the fastest time for a couple of minutes,” Dibben said after the stage.
“I was pretty happy with that because I knew a few people who were targeting the time trial had gone before me. But I thought [Andrew] Talansky and [Brent] Bookwalter would be up there, so I didn’t think I’d be in the hot seat for long.
“Then when I beat Vegard Stake Laengen, who I thought would go well, I got slightly nervous. I started to believe. Watching the last guys come in was stressful!”
While the course at Big Bear Lake was a fairly simple out-and-back course, the fact that it was at more than 2,000m above sea level meant that Dibben and the rest of the riders in the race were unsure what to expect.
“After the Tour de Yorkshire me and Tao flew straight to Park City, which is at 2,000 metres, and we were there for nine days,” Dibben continued.
“We didn’t got there with this TT in mind, it was more just to get an altitude camp and a good block of training in ahead of the race, but it would definitely have helped today.
“We were all discussing this morning how we thought it was going to go, what difference being at altitude would make, but no one really knew.
As part of his first year at Team Sky, Dibben has ridden races in the Middle East and the cobbled Classics in support of others (including finishing 47 minutes down and outside the time limit at Paris-Roubaix), but admitted that he has had an eye on races which could suit him for personal glory.
“At the start of the year I didn’t have any specific goals. Just to turn up at races and do my job, hitting performance targets. Along the way I guess I’ve highlighted days like today and thought, ‘OK, that could suit me,’ but to win…
“Beforehand I was speaking to Tao and I didn’t really know what to expect. I guess I’d have been happy with a top 20 so to win is pretty damn good!”