Ribble Weldtite’s Jacob Tipper is the team’s powerhouse sprinter. On the eve of the 107th edition of the most prestigious Grand Tour in cycling, we had a quick chat to get some tips on getting the best from your bike when every second matters. Alongside talking about the nuances of sprinting, climbing Alpe d’Huez and getting some TDF predictions of course.
In 2017, Jacob Tipper alongside teammates Dan Bigham, Charlie Tanfield and Jonny Wale rode to victory in the team pursuit at the National Track Championships to claim a UCI 1.2 podium and his maiden National title. Since then the 28-year-old has gone from strength to strength.
Here, he talks to us about how to get the best from your bike when every second matters and also gives us his predictions ahead of this year’s TDF.
So, Jacob, sprinting is your main love and discipline. What is it about sprinting that you love so much?
It’s just that high adrenaline instant gratification, no prizes for how much you win by. It’s just about crossing that line first, that’s all that matters.
Is there anything you do differently in your training to focus on sprinting in comparison to the rest of the team?
I probably do less sprinting than most people (other than to town signs). It’s a massive misconception that road sprinters train anything like track sprinters. So much of it is about having the gas left after 4-5 minutes of going full gas just to hold your position.
How is your bike set up currently, what changes have you made when compared to last year?
This year we were issued with the Endurance SL R Disc. The integrated bars on my Ribble SLR and the thru-axles make the bike so responsive. It’s the disc brakes that give that extra bit of confidence to put your wheel where you probably shouldn’t sometimes in the knowledge that the brakes are a lot more powerful if something does go wrong.
You have done so many races and got some great results over the years. What has been your proudest/favourite moment in a sprint finish?
My proudest moment was my win at the Tour of Quinghai lake – a UCI.HC race. That was a huge career goal to have a Pro win on Pro Cycling Stats (they count a pro win as .1/.HC/WT).
But the favourite may have been in Morocco, it was a small break of 6 with 2 riders from Wilier Triestina, including Jakub Marezko who had won 3 stages already. Out of the last corner with 300m to go, it was a straight-up shoot out between me and him. And I took it. This was great for the confidence to show I am as quick as the best sprinters (I’m just not often with them when left to sprint ha!). He went on to get 2nd in the opening stage of the Giro just a few weeks later to put his ability into perspective.
Can you give us a few tips for those wanting to improve their sprinting?
For beginners a huge part is technique. You often see big Rugby lads smashing out big watts on the Wattbike but they can’t convert that to the road. Most people are capable of producing more watts, they just lack the coordination to do so. So a good tip is to do some downhill sprinting (while obviously keeping it safe). This helps focus on technique as it makes the sprint a lot harder to do while focusing on keeping the bike balanced at 25-30 mph.
TOUR DE FRANCE
The Tour de France starts this weekend. Who is your favourite rider and why?
Niccolò Bonifazio. Italian cyclist who rides for Total Direct Énergie. He just seems a lovely chap so looking forward to seeing him race this year.
Who do you think will take Yellow Jersey? Green Jersey/Polka dot Jersey/White Jersey?
I would say Primož Roglič for the yellow jersey, Arnaud Démare for the green jersey, Romain Bardet for the polka dot jersey and Daniel Felipe Martínez for the white jersey.
What do you think of this year’s route? Which is the standout stage for you?
I know it’s in France…
Which is your favourite climb that has been in the TDF and have you ridden it? What was it like?
I’ve only actually done Alpe d’Huez, it was horrific. If you’re over 70kg, I don’t recommend it.
What is your favourite TDF moment, and why?
Whenever Fabian Cancellara just rode off the front of the sprint lead outs with 1km to go in the yellow jersey, caught the break and won.
Have you ever been to support the TDF and what are your memories of it?
When it was in London, it was a fantastic atmosphere. I went down with Halesowen cycling club and watched the TT in Hyde Park. Again Fabian was doing silly things catching motorbikes through the corners, it was incredible. I’m really looking forward to seeing what unfolds in this year’s TDF.
Do you feel like you aren’t fuelling efficiently for your rides? Never fear, for the boys of Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling have you covered. Let’s talk nutrition.
George Mills-Keeling is the youngest rider on the team, here he talks to us about what get’s his cycling juices flowing.