Sport Tuesday, July 19th Words by: Adam Knight, pictures by: British Cycling, NFTO

Q&A with NFTO star Ian Bibby

Sport Tuesday, July 19th

Q&A with NFTO star Ian Bibby

As Chris Froome winds his way towards the Champs Elysées and perhaps his third Tour win - pursued by two-hundred-and-something pairs of superhuman lungs and legs, among them nine Brits, and one with a White Jersey on his back - cycling’s meteoric rise in sporting popularity on these isles is now beyond any doubt.

That said, at Sunday’s Wheelie Big Cycle in Hereford, which saw more than 700 cyclists take on courses ranging from kids courses to a 93-miler, there was only a smattering of Wiggins jerseys visible in the Start Line group photo.

It wasn’t the classic Black And Blue of Team Sky that dominated the picture, but the Black and Red of NFTO.

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Powering on to the road racing scene in 2012 under John Wood’s no-nonsense, Not For The Ordinary banner, the Hereford-based pro team quickly established itself among the elite, taking a seat at british cycling's top table as one of just six 'Continental' squads.

For two years, the face of that group – whether or not that sits comfortably with the humble, two-discipline national champ from Preston – has been Ian Bibby.

Coming off the back of a National Circuit Race title – becoming the second-consecutive NFTO rider to win the marquee event following Adam Blythe’s 2014 crown – Bibby has continued to dominate crits and domestic races this year.

With the season only half-done he has already stood atop the podium at the Manx International, Cycle Wiltshire, and Ryedale Grand Prix’s, and on Friday he added the Wales Open Crit to his list of 2016 titles.

That side of the border has proved to be a happy hunting ground for the 29-year-old, who also placed placed third at the UCI-ranked Velothon Wales.

But if this year’s Tour has left you under the impression that pro riding is all sun-drenched mountain ranges and cyclist’s tan-lines, Bibby is one of the few road racers who not only tolerates the inclement conditions inherent while riding the majority of your season in Britain, but one who actively seeks them out.

While many of his contemporaries spent their winter downtime between gruelling sessions in the gym or on the turbo, and some well-earned R & R time chasing the sun, Bibby sticks on his wet-weather tyres and hits the cyclocross circuit.

His love for the punishing, cross-country discipline, which requires riders to run sections of the course while carrying their mud-splattered bike, has seen him win a national title in 2010 and – presumably – more than a few man-points among his road racing team-mates over the years.

Seeing as it is Bike Week over here at Herefordshire Live, we thought what better time to catch up with the county’s fastest man on two wheels. So here’s a quickfire Q & A with NFTO’s Ian Bibby.

 ....................

Name: Ian Bibby 

Age: 29

Team:Nfto

Nicknames: Bibs

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Who’s your pick for Le Tour? 

Froome will win but would be nice to Geraint [Thomas] ride well. 

When was the first time you were on two wheels?

I think I was around four from what my parents have told me, I was riding before my sister anyway and she's four years older than me.

What’s your favourite moment in the sport up to this point?

Hard to say, but always nice winning a national champs jersey 

For those who don’t know – how would you describe cyclocross? 

Cyclocross is in winter and is a filthy muddy, slow ride around a field, with the occasional bit of running. Road racing is 100miles plus so both are hard in different ways but cross racing is probably more fun.

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How did you find your way to NFTO/Hereford?

I got chatting to John wood and managed to persuade him I was half-decent in a race. 

People always talk about the chemistry around NFTO –  what’s the team been like to ride with?

It's a relaxed team with a great bunch of lads - serious when we need to be but complete idiots most of the time. Which seems to work well and everyone is happy when anyone of us wins. 

What do you make of Herefordshire? What’s your favourite ride/coffee spot?

Doesn't get much better than flat white and eggs benedict or spaghetti carbonara at Diego's cafe 

What’s been the hardest race you’ve been involved in this year?

None of them have been easy but the end of the season has been tough with the pressure on us to guarantee Tour of Britain selection. 

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Typically, what’s on the menu the night before a 150km’s worth of racing?

Steak, chips and a big bar of dairy milk creations. 

And finally, outside of cycling, do you follow/play any other sports?

It's hard to do other sports as your always tired from racing/training but I do enjoy trying out as many sports as possible in the winter. We did a team sky dive last year as well [NFTO also runs a competitive Skydiving team] which was a good experience, but extremely awful at the same time.

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