Ian Bibby (JLT Condor) became the first British rider and second non-Australian to claim the overall victory at the Mitchelton Bay Cycilng Classic. The 30-year-old took a surprise win on a crash-marred opening stage in Geelong on Monday. He finished in second place and fourth place in the following two rounds of racing to secure the overall title.
Bibby was the first to admit that his win in the 28th edition of the race was unexpected. He started the three-day criterium series anticipating playing a key support role for teammate Brenton Jones. With his team leader taken out in last corner crash on stage one, Bibby stepped up to the plate.
"If you told me this would happen last week, I would have laughed," Bibby told reporters, including Cyclingnews, in Williamstown following stage three. "To start the year off like this has been really, really good.
"I can normally ride crits alright," Bibby continued. "I've got quite good form at the moment, which helps, but I was looking at a lot of the other lads for the series. The first day a bit of luck got me in the jersey. That was the plan then. Luckily I've got good legs and managed to get a result the other two days."
It's an earlier than usual start for the Briton who has only been training seriously for five weeks following an off-season holiday. He flew to Melbourne on Boxing Day and coped well with the the time change to beat Australia's best.
"It's very early season," noted Bibby. "We've been home training while a lot of the Aussies have been racing. We do a lot of crits at home. We race them every other day in the summer at home, so we're all pretty used to the fast, hard hour-long races.
"The race Is always a bit of a shock, but we settled into it," Bibby added. "A lot of the lads were better on the second day."
Bibby's team heads to Bendigo for a month to prepare for the Herald Sun Tour, which begins on the first of February.
"We have a big block of training now," said Bibby. "We have about four weeks until the Sun Tour. We'll do a lot of group rides around Bendigo, real hard training, and then rest up for Sun Tour. Hopefully we can do similar there – ride well and get similar results.
"[Chris] Froome is doing the Sun Tour," Bibby noted. "To race against those guys, we don't get to do that often. It's a good chance to have a go against him."