Duo excited for Monument bow

01 Apr 2017

Duo excited for Monument bow

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Jon Dibben and Owain Doull are preparing to embark on a path that they hope will one day see them go into the history books as Team Sky’s next generation of Monument men.

The pair are making their senior Monument race debuts at the Tour of Flanders this weekend as they continue their classics education on the Belgian cobbles.
 
Having competed in the under 23 editions of De Ronde before, both have an idea of what to expect, but as Dibben notes the step-up in pace, technicality and race length is something they will need to adapt to.
 
“We’ve both done the under 23 Flanders four times each, but obviously it’s not as fast and there are differences,” he told TeamSky.com.
 
“These are massive races. For both of us to get our first start in a Monument it’s massive.
 
“In the future if I could go well at any races I’d hope it would be these. To get a first taste of it will be a great experience and see how tough it is and where my level is.”
Doull training before his illness

Doull training before his illness

Doull reckons the importance of building race knowledge and tapping into the experience of senior pros holds the key to success in the classics, which is something he and Dibben have received plenty of support with.
 
He explained: “It’s about how you piece together the roads, for example the Taaienberg - you can come at that from three different ways, and doing the U23 edition you only race it from one direction, then at E3 Harelbeke we raced it the other way and now we’ll come at it from another way entirely.
 
“Someone like Christian Knees who has done Flanders eight times is vital to the team. We’ve got a fairly young team with myself, Jon and Gianni [Moscon] but then we’ve got some older guys who have been at the front in the classics.
 
“Throughout the recons, Kneesy will ride up to you and point out an important section and [Luke] Rowe will show you where there’s usually a crash.”
 
Dibben chipped in: “What’s so important about these races is not just knowing the climbs and cobbled sections, but the random road, or a little lane or left-hander which someone like Rowe or Knees will point out ‘this will be a key section in the race’.”
Dibben kicked off his season in Mallorca

Dibben kicked off his season in Mallorca

Both neo pros had targeted Flanders and Paris-Roubaix at the start of the season, although they had mixed fortunes at the turn of the year.
 
Dibben’s programme saw him impress at Challenge Mallorca in January with a sixth place finish on his full Team Sky debut, while Doull’s first full WorldTour appearance at the Tour Down Under was postponed after a bout of appendicitis which he feared may have impacted his classics participation.
 
Doull revealed: “I’m pretty relieved to be honest, these are the sort of races in which I want to do well in the future and the best way to do that is to ride them as many times as possible.
 
“I’ve had a couple of setbacks and I’ve not been going as well as I could have been after my appendicitis, but I’m happy to be where I’m at and happy to be part of it.”
 
Servais Knaven

Servais Knaven

“They don't have the experience of Flanders, but they know these roads and they have the knowhow.
One man who knows how to win a Monument is Sport Director Servais Knaven, who was victorious at Paris-Roubaix in 2001, and the Dutchman has been impressed with the attitude and application of the British duo.
 
He said: "Those guys are all excited and you can see how much they enjoy it. They're happy to be here, to be part of the group and to ride these roads and climbs in Belgium.
 
“They don't have the experience of Flanders, but they know these roads and they have the knowhow.
 
“It's really good to have them here - they're up for it.”

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