In the autumn of 2015, Matt Gibson climbed onto a track bike in Switzerland alongside Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull and Steven Burke for round one of the Track World Cup. The six-man squad then went on to win gold in the European Track Championships and Gibson shot into the limelight heralded as the next generation for GB.
From the impressive year on the track came bad luck, only now two years on has Matt Gibson returned to the sharp end of the field.
“It feels great to take the title and prove to myself I’m back from nearly two years away from racing.” – Matt Gibson
The twenty year-old based in Cheshire showed form and consistency, visiting the podium four times in the six date 2017 HSBC Circuit Series, proving he has returned to fitness following an illness that almost halted his career in cycling.
After the highs of 2015, Gibson’s fitness dipped initially he thought it was overtraining but when he and British Cycling were unable to identify the cause it meant that he lost his place on their British Cycling Academy squad.
A tough 2016 followed, unable to train properly the youngster couldn’t find any racing form. Fast forward to the autumn of 2016 and JLT Condor team manager, John Herety arranged testing at HMT Hospital, their specialists were able to find traces of Epstein-Barr virus which causes glandular fever. Matt’s continual training to overcome what he thought was lack of fitness meant that instead of suffering from glandular fever for 2-4 weeks he prolonged its effects.
“He has alot of talent and JLT Condor can give him the platform to show his ability” – John Herety
Second chance at JLT Condor
2017 has been a turnaround of epic proportions. But how, exactly, did it happen? What changed? When finally the Matt was able to determine what was wrong with him, he was able to start to recover properly.
“Matt’s titles on the track, his solo win in the Tour Series in 2014 were all good markers for me “, explained team manager, John Herety. ” Once we had the help of HMT to determine the illness. I sat down and talked through with Matt his aims and he showed he has the motivation to continue to progress. He has alot of talent and JLT Condor can give him the platform to show his ability.”
John Herety and performance coach, Tim Kennaugh worked with HMT’s doctors in late 2016 and early part of 2017 to devise a training plan that would help Matt return to elite competitive racing without allowing the illness to remain. He flew to Australia with the team but Tim was careful not to put into bigger longer training days. Whilst Gibson missed out on riding high profile Tour de Yorkshire-type events. The focus of Tim Kennaugh has to build his fitness for longer races such as the 200k one-day GB Marbriers in France in September.
2017 Circuit Title
The results are starting to show. The young rider was visibly delighted to be back at the sharp end of the field but was quick to add his his performance in the series was also down to the team ethic. “It feels great to take the title and prove to myself I’m back from nearly two years away from racing.”
“The team rode so well in the series, tonight [Colne Grand Prix] Tom Moses rode the first third on the front controlling the pace to the break. It was a really tough day sat on Moses and Brenton’s wheel. Everyone got stuck in and Brenton beat me on the line. He’s not going to gift me a win.”
It’s fitting that, despite all the heartache that preceded it, Matt Gibson is on the way back and he’s earned his placed in the team at GP Marbriers in France later this year. Gibson will then head back to the track in the winter and look to be selected for the Revolution Series.