“It’s my first national championships off the track. It’s great to pull it off and get a jersey I can wear for the year.”
JLT Condor’s Gibson won a sprint duel with defending champion and World junior cyclo-cross champion, Tom Pidcock, to claim his first national title on the road. But for Gibson it wasn’t as straight forward as just winning a sprint.
The young rider first had to come back from zero after taking a break from cycling in 2015 and 2016 suffering from then undiagonsed cytomegalovirus, which is similar to glandular fever. Team boss, John Herety, recognised the signs and helped Gibson, who was at the time without a team and contract. Herety booked the rider into HMT Hospital who ran a serious of tests to work out the issue.
Gibson began riding for JLT Condor in 2017 but Herety and performance manager, Tim Kennaugh took considered approach to training to bring Matt back to racing in the summer for the 2017 HSBC Circuit Series, which he won overall all.
A fast night in Stockton
Fast forward twelve months and twenty-one year old Gibson has won UCI stages in New Zealand and France and taken various victories in British series races. He lined up to the National Circuit Championships as a favourite, alongside the outgoing champ, Tom Pidcock.
Despite the race beginning in a cagey fashion, as the peloton approached the halfway mark, JLT Condor’s Jon Mould launched an attack to put pressure on the field. More attacks ensued but nothing was able to stay away very long. With five laps to go, the contenders were all together, with Tom Moses, Jon Mould, Ali Slater forming a leadout for Matt Gibson (both JLT Condor) but behind were Team Wiggins duo of Latham and Pidcock looking particularly dangerous.
Pidcock came around the late 180 degree turn in the lead, but Gibson pulled off a terrific move to slip out from the Team Wiggins riders slipsteam and power to the line.
Team work give Gibson the victory
Matt Gibson admitted that he felt like tonight was his night and he could take the title if he was placed in the right position. “The whole race I knew I’d get the win if I was in a good spot. I came out behind Pidcock on the last bend and I knew that no-one would get the better of me down the long straight.”
Matt Gibson was full of praise for his team mates after his title win. “It’s me that won, but I couldn’t have done it without the guys. The lead-out into the last few corners was everything you could want. I can’t thank them enough.”
Gibson’s teammate, Jon Mould, rounded out the podium to take third — his third bronze medal in the championships in three years.