Insight Teams

2019 team preview: Ribble Pro Cycling

Key facts, squad list & the British Conti Insider verdict on the team

Ribble Pro Cycling is one of two British teams stepping up to the Continental ranks from Elite level. The team has made five new signings, including the returning Jacob Tipper (winner of stages in the Tour of Qinghai Lake and Tour du Maroc in 2018) and former An Post Chain Reaction rider and GB track rider Mark Stewart. It will be fascinating to see if the team can challenge the existing Continental teams this season for spots at the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain. 

Slow and steady progression: I wish more teams would take a leaf out of Ribble Pro Cycling’s book

British Conti Insider
Photo: Ribble Pro Cycling

Key facts and figures

Team PrincipalTom Timothy
Established 2013 (Continental since 2019)
Previous team namesBrother NRG (2017)
Planet X – Northside (2016)
Achieve Northside Skinnergate (2015)
Achieve Skinnergate (2014)
Achieve Cycle Coaching (2013)
Squad size16 – second largest British Conti squad
UCI World Ranking points
(at 28.01.2019)
86 – 5th out of 6 British Conti teams
No. of new signings5
No. of retained riders11
No. of departing riders6
Average rider age
(at 15.01.2019)
26.4 – oldest British Conti squad
UCI race wins 2018GP de la Pharmacie Centrale de Tunisie,
1.2 (Lewis)
National A race wins 2018None
First 2019 race10.03 GP de la Ville de Lillers (FRA)

Team kit

Not yet revealed, but here is the team car…

Photo: Ribble Pro Cycling

Ribble Pro Cycling remains very much a collection of friends, and this is undoubtedly one of their strengths

British Conti Insider

Verdict: the British Conti Insider’s view

Our ‘British Conti insider’ is an active DS with experience in the UK and abroad. Here is their verdict on the 2019 Ribble Pro Cycling squad.

Slow and steady progression: I wish more teams would take a leaf out of Jack Rees’ and Ribble Pro Cycling’s book. From humble beginnings through to sponsorship by Planet X and Brother NRG, and then investment by Ribble, the North Eastern team has chipped away, and has ultimately been rewarded with a Continental licence. The motto “Our team, our way” certainly rings true, and I applaud them for sticking to their guns. Jack has opted to hand the reins to recently retired (due to ill health) Tom Timothy, but will assuredly have a hand in the running of the team despite being listed as a rider for 2019. 

Ribble Pro Cycling remains very much a collection of friends, and this is undoubtedly one of their strengths. A successful team doesn’t always have to rely on goodwill and amity, but it helps. I see the core of the group as being crucial to the team’s success: Bigham, Archibald, Tipper, Stewart, Lewis. Scott Auld offers an option as a talented climber, but it is with the HUUB boys* that most success will come.

*HUUB Wattbike Test Team is the UCI registered track team that Bigham, Archibald, Tipper compete at World Cups for. The team is completed with Harry & Charlie Tanfield, Ashton Lambie, and Johnny Wale. Precisely why the UCI allow riders to race for two teams is a matter of some conjecture. However, it does allow for riders that are ignored by the National team to compete at World Cups etc, which in Archibald’s case has ensured he qualifies for Worlds participation. (See the recent furore with the New Zealand squad rider being ineligible due to missing World Cups due to injury).

There has been some criticism of Conti teams competing in National Bs and local events, but I personally see no issue with this as it should (and does) raise the standard of racing

I like what I’ve seen of Jake Gray and Ed Hopper (Hopper already proving his worth in the KISS Zwift Series recently) and riders like Alex Luhrs, Zeb Kyffin are more than capable of winning National Bs and making moves in National Road Series races. Unlike some of the Conti teams, Ribble place a premium on British Cycling points as they see them crucial to driving sponsorship forward and delivering value for money. There has been some criticism of Conti teams competing in National Bs and local events, but I personally see no issue with this as it should (and does) raise the standard of racing, and as Ribble has proved, allows for excellent coverage for sponsors at all levels.

The team has always had a fairly mixed programme, racing overseas where and when possible, but mostly concentrating on the domestic scene. In Jacob Tipper and Gruffudd Lewis, the team have two of the very few British riders to have tasted success at UCI level in 2018. The options open to the team are excellent, with wins possible at TTs, track, road and as already proven, e-sports. If I have one concern it is the ability to ride and race as a unit, as this has been lacking over a couple of seasons. But with Matt Cronshaw at the helm of the Mini Countryman team car, hopefully cohesion will follow. 

I don’t expect fireworks from all riders this season, but John Archibald has a very real chance of bringing home a rainbow jersey from the World Championships later this month, and look out for Mark Stewart who I rate very highly. The future is bright for Ribble Pro Cycling – almost as bright as the new team bikes. 

2019 squad

RiderCountryPrevious team
John ArchibaldGBRRibble Pro Cycling
Scott AuldGBRV.C.Toucy
Daniel BighamGBRRibble Pro Cycling
William BrownGBRRibble Pro Cycling
Alex DaltonGBRCatford CC Equipe
Jake GrayIRLV.C.Toucy
Ed Hopper
GBRRibble Pro Cycling
Richard JonesGBRRibble Pro Cycling
Zeb KyffinGBRRibble Pro Cycling
Gruff LewisGBRRibble Pro Cycling
Alex LuhrsGBRRibble Pro Cycling
Jack ReesGBRRibble Pro Cycling
Chris SherriffsGBRRibble Pro Cycling
Mark StewartGBRNone
Jacob TipperGBRMemil – CCN Pro Cycling
Simon WilsonGBRRibble Pro Cycling

Departures

RiderCountry2019 status
Lawrence CarpenterGBRTeam Wiggins Le Col
William CorbettGBRNot known
David HewettGBRNot known
Tom TimothyGBRTeam Principal, Ribble Pro Cycling
Ethan VernonGBRGB senior academy
Jonathan WaleGBRNot known
Photo: Ribble Pro Cycling

Feature photo: Ribble Pro Cycling

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