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Tour of Britain - London Grand Prix Young Gun
By Staff
Date: 9/11/2007
Tour of Britain - London Grand Prix Young Gun

Tour of Britain - London Grand Prix Young Gun
The Amateurs had their day in the sun at the Tour of Britain festivities from the Masters (Malcom Elliot won) and a Junior rider caught my attention...

Yesterday, the Prologue of the 2007 Tour of Britain was won by Mark Cavendish, the fast-emerging sprinter. The support events followed the trend of being won by a fast man, too; albeit in road races and not against the watch. Malcom Elliott (Pinarello) took the honours in the Bob Chicken London Grand Prix, a yearly, prestigious race, held alongside the Tour’s other festivities, for example.

Jonathan Dibben takes the win in the Crystal Palace Youth Event.
Photo c. Nick Bull

The junior and youth categories also culminated in sprint finishes, with’s Jonathan Dibben taking the honours in the latter event. It was one of the most assured performances I’ve seen in many years. And that’s not surprising.

Crystal Palace Podium with Jonathan on the top step.
Photo c. Nick Bull

In his age category, he is ranked third nationally, aided largely through some very impressive performances since the turn of the year. Just last week, he sprinted to second places in the Youth B RC Omega race, held at the Thruxton motor-racing circuit. This result, along with the win in Crystal Palace, provided some proof that year-long consistency is not a problem for the young rider.

On the first weekend of January, he competed in the National Cyclo-Cross Championship, held in Southampton. This was as close as a local race could possibly get for Dibben, as he hails from Totton, Hampshire (which is the South West of the country). The weather conditions were appalling; constant rain and some strong winds hindered the riders greatly. Twice an Under -12 champion in this discipline, misfortune struck when gear problems forced him to run most of the course. He finished twenty-fifth, but still managed to beat half the field.

In June, he competed in another National, this time it was the Youth Circuit Championships (Under 14 category). Again, the weather was hardly ideal for bike racing, though Dibben missed out on the title by an inch. A great performance it was, nonetheless, especially considering this was his first year competing in this age group. In 2006, he took the title in the Under 12 event, following a ride which British Cycling described as ‘very aggressive’. The course in Bradford, Yorkshire, allowed such attacking racing – and the breakaway move that stayed away until the finish was instigated by Dibben. This was also a successful defence of his title.

Like a handful of professional sprinters, he is a competent time-trialist. In May’s Isle of Man Youth Tour - set over three stages; he took the honours in the opening Prologue, and, had he not have lost time on the second stage, may well have finished higher than fifth overall.

Podium girls and trophies for Dibben. Photo c. Nick Bull

As well as being a gifted road rider, he has competed many times on the Track, which aides his work against the watch. A month ago, he competed in the final of the Youth Track Omnium, at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. The previous two legs were held in Newport and Herne Hill; going into the final leg the rider had a chance to take overall honours. (To qualify for these three events, riders must qualify from the regional heats). Comprising of a time-trial, Points race, the ‘Devil’, the sprint race and a scratch race, Dibben took the Devil, finished less than a second back to take third in the time-trial, the position where he also finished in the scratch and points events. All this resulted in him taking the Bronze Medal. He is well on his way to becoming an accomplished track rider – even as far back as 2004, he was competing against riders two or three years older than him including his brother, Peter – and occasionally beating them.

He was well prepared for the proceeding Tour of Britain race, having taken the Under 14 Youth B race in London’s Hyde Park in July, a day after the Tour de France prologue was held around the Capital, and part of the Cycling festival that took place over that weekend. In addition to this, it was only a month ago that he won the Assen Youth Tour, beating 58 riders from Europe.

Without sticking my neck on the line, this rider is definitely one for the future, be it on the National or European scene. With his skills both on and off the road, particularly when it comes to sprinting, accomplished, a bright future beckons for this young man. He could well be called the next Mark Cavendish before too long.

Jonathan Dibben – Selected Results
UK National Track Championships (Under 12) – 12th
Calshot Winter Track League (13th Leg) – 1st Scratch Race
UK National Youth Road Championships (Under 12) – 1st
UK National Cyclo Cross Championships (Under 12) – 1st
Southern Circuit League (Thruxton meet / Under 12)) – 1st2006
UK National Youth Road Championships (Under 12) – 1st
UK National Youth Road Championships (Under 12) – 1st
UK National Youth Road Championships (Under 14) – 2nd
UK National Track Omnium (Under 14) – 3rd
Isle of Man Youth Tour – 1st, Prologue
Isle of Man Youth Tour – 5th Overall
Crawley Circuit Race (U14) – 1st
Hyde Park Festival of Cycling (Youth B/Under 14) – 1st
RC Omega Thruxton Race (Youth B) – 2nd
Crystal Palace 10km (Tour of Britain support, Youth) – 1st

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