Here at Freewheeling we love seeing the up-and-coming riders progressing through the ranks and taking big wins. This year Pete Kibble, riding in the Welsh team jersey, won a fantastic second stage of the Junior Tour of Wales atop Rhigos mountain after a gruelling route packed with climbs and traditional Welsh weather! To make it all the sweeter, it just happened to be his last stage race on UK soil as a junior. Next season, Kibble will be riding with Zappi Pro Cycling at U23 level, after recently signing a new contract. We caught up with Pete to hear all about his hopes for the 2017 season and beyond….
Congratulation on signing with Zappi Pro Cycling! How did that come about?
Getting a ride with Zappi’s came from having a conversation with Flavio Zappi at the Ras de Cymru in Wales. We kept in touch since then and he asked if I would like a ride in the summer. It was a hard decision as I also had an offer from a UK team but I weighed it up and felt as though I would develop more by racing on the Continent in tougher UCI races. It’s the entire lifestyle I’m looking at, living abroad, learning to speak Italian; not just the racing.
What was the highlight of your 2016 season?
The highlight of my year was winning the Junior Tour of Wales Stage 2 up Rhigos mountain, definitely. This was my first real big win and to do it on home soil, at my favourite race, just topped it off. I had a few other highlights but this race really topped it off for me.
How have you changed as a rider over the last 12 months? Was there anything specific that you were working to improve?
I wouldn’t say I have changed as a rider style-wise over the last 12 months, but I have progressed tactically, learning how to race better. I would say my biggest improvement came in TT’s this year, knocking my PB down from a 20:40 to a 19:15 and placing highly in most open TT’s I did.
What are your hopes for the 2017 season?
My aims for the upcoming season are to continue learning, and to put in place the building blocks of experience for my career. It will be a big learning curve and the racing will be a whole new experience. It’s also a big step up into U23s, but I aim to get some top 20 results once I get into the style of racing.
Describe your riding style – do you go for sprint wins, TTs, mountain stages or GC?
My style is definitely suited to racing for GC. I’m a good climber and I like tough terrain. I haven’t got a great sprint so I like races where the terrain dictates the way in which the race will be won. I also like time trials and I do a lot of them.
Which do you prefer, one-day races or stage races?
I definitely prefer stage racing to one day races as it suits my style of riding a lot more; it’s about being consistent which I feel is a strength of mine. One day races are usually decided in a sprint which isn’t my forte.
Who is your favourite rider in the current pro peloton?
My favourite rider has to be Tom Boonen – he’s just uber cool and is an incredible tactician. I mean it takes a hell of a rider to win Paris Roubaix 4 times!
Which cyclist would you say has inspired you the most?
Most inspirational cyclist for me has be Chris Froome. He seems like the most unlikely person to win the Tour de France looking at his background and where he’s come from. He just lets his legs do the talking and has become incredibly successful, winning the Tour 3 times which is phenomenal.
Did you manage to get to the road-side to watch any of the Tour of Britain stages this year?
I watched this year’s Tour of Britain in the Cotswolds on Dursley hill. It was great to see so many spectators and people really embracing the race.
We notice that you’ve started a blog – how are you finding the writing and blogging side of things?
I enjoy writing the blog as it’s something new. It’s good to do as a distraction from training, it will get a lot better when I’m away racing during the season when I have so many new experiences to write about!
What is your favourite bit of cycle kit – what could you not ride without?
My favourite piece of cycling kit has to be Oakleys – I have quite a few pairs. Probably too many…
Stephen Roche feels that race radios and power meters are making racing less exciting, what do you think about such new technology?
With regards to Stephen Roche’s views, I can understand where he’s coming from as there is a lot of data that affects the way races are won – riders become very calculated. In that respect it definitely could be more exciting without the use of so much technology. However there are a lot of plus points with regards to rider safety with the use of radios. Power meters are a really good training tool, and I don’t think a lot of riders will take a lot of notice of their figures during a race. Personally I don’t use power at the moment I just go on feel and heart rate.
Sagan will be riding in the Rainbow stripes for another year after his win in Doha. If you could only win ONE of cycling’s most prestigious jerseys, which one would you choose and why?
My favourite jersey to win would have to be the yellow at the Tour de France. It’s the most prestigious race in cycling and it’s such a large human endeavour to win it. It takes so much to get a result at the Tour de France as it’s 3 weeks of full on racing, and there are so many variables you have to be such a rounded rider and have fantastic support to succeed.
Good luck Pete – we wish you all the best!