Ian Bibby, the winner of the Manx International GP on Sunday (April 10), says that the country’s top domestic riders can match their Pro Continental and WorldTour companions.
The NFTO rider soloed to victory in Douglas, Isle of Man, in the second round of the Motorpoint Spring Cup, Team Sky’s Ben Swift finishing third behind Madison-Genesis‘ Erick Rowsel; island native and reigning national champion Pete Kennaugh trailed home in seventh.
Riders in Britain’s six Continental squads – NFTO, Madison, Raleigh, JLT-Condor, Pedal Heaven and Wiggins – tend to only race against WorldTour riders at the Tour de Yorkshire, National Championships, Tour of Britain and Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
So few racing days means that the gulf between the riders is usually significant – often exposed at the National Championships – but Bibby says that undermining domestic teams is a dangerous tactic.
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“When we’re racing early season and we’re doing all these races, we’re at a different level than we are at the Nationals and can threaten more. Doing these races is good for us,” the 29-year-old told Cycling Weekly.
“At the National Championships a lot of the big pros come back and we’ve been racing crits for the previous four or five weeks so our road form is as bad as it was in the winter.
“Because the crit scene (the 10 round Pearl Izumi Tour Series) is so big here, and because it’s televised, it’s what we all do. We get paid well to ride our bike and our team needs us doing crits, so we have to do them. The downside is your road form takes a dip around the Nationals but it’s one of them things.
“That’s not to say beating the big pros can’t be done, but it’s harder. It means they come back from all this racing and we can’t get near to them. But when we’re racing road races, like now, we can (get near to them).”