Jon Dibben retires aged 26

onathan Dibben of Great Britain celebrates his gold medal after winning the final of the Mens Points Race
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former points race world champion Jon Dibben has retired from professional cycling at the age of 26.

The British rider started his career on the track before switching to the road with Team Sky in 2017. He dropped down to the British domestic circuit with Madison Genesis in 2019 before returning to the WorldTour with Lotto Soudal this year. 

Without a contract extension for 2021, Dibben has decided to call time on his career, which he revealed on the PodCrash (opens in new tab) podcast hosted by his former track teammates Callum Skinner and Phil Hindes. 

"I’m now retired - or retiring, at the end of this year," he said.

"Yes, you’re retiring, but in a way you’re just stopping racing. It’s not like a normal retirement, where you’ve been doing one job in a place and they buy you a present and you go on holiday for the rest of your life; it’s more you’ve stopped racing and it's onto the next thing."

Dibben picked out his world title as the highlight of his career. In an Olympic year in front of home crowds, he won the points race at the 2016 Track Worlds in London, catching and flying past late attacker Benjamin Thomas with a turn of speed that Alex Dowsett described on Friday as "one of the most incredible things I’ve seen in cycling to this day".

Despite also winning a silver medal at those Worlds as part of the British team pursuit quartet, Dibben, who broke his elbow soon after, was not selected for the Rio Olympics, as the selectors opted to take Mark Cavendish for the omnium and back-up pursuit spot. 

Dibben then went full-time on the road with Sky, winning the time trial at the Tour of California in his first season. His second season with Sky didn’t go so well and he dropped to Continental level in 2019 before jumping back up to the top-tier with Lotto Soudal. 

After a season disrupted by the pandemic, he raced his first and only Grand Tour at the Giro d’Italia, and realised by the end it would be his final appearance as a pro. With only a short time trial in Milan to follow, the 26-year-old was able to soak in his farewell on the final road stage to Sestrière

"It was a gorgeous day with bluebird skies, the sun was almost setting in the background, and we were up at 2000 metres so there was snow on the side of the roads. I was just sort of finishing the stage - I knew we’d made the time cut - so I dropped off the back of the gruppetto to just be by myself," he said. 

"I was sort of riding in, for those last few minutes, in the sunset, in the snowy mountains, thinking 'well, this is probably my last race because tomorrow will just be over in flash'. It’s probably one of the very few moments on a bike that I’ve savoured."

As for the future, Dibben has no concrete plans but is thinking of staying in cycling and possibly coaching while working out what he wants to do on a longer-term basis. 

"You've got to find summit that you enjoy - that’s my first criteria," he said. "I don’t just want to get a job to pay the bills; I want to do something I can have fun doing."

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