Ribble has been proud to support the Ribble-Verge cyclocross team for several seasons. As the curtain came down on another impressive season, we caught up with team manager Jenson Young to discover how he felt 2023 panned out.
With a rich history stretching back over 125 years, Ribble has developed an affinity for top-tier bicycle racing in all its forms. Forming strong partnerships with professional cycling teams across all genres of the sport has helped one of the world's longest-established cycling brands solidify its position as world-leader in bicycle design and innovation. These partnerships allow Ribble to push the boundaries of bicycle design, providing established athletes and promising talents alike with world-class bikes that deliver the ultimate competitive advantage, so they can take their performance to the next level.
Founder and Team Manager Jenson Young has been a a fixture from the beginning, guiding his riders through the various age groups before fulfilling their dreams of stepping up to the pro peloton (hopefully). Here, Jenson shares his thoughts on the 2023 cross campaign and establishes the lofty aims of his youthful development team.
Hi Jenson. Can you give us a brief intro to Ribble-Verge and what it is you do?
Ribble Verge is a cyclocross team set up to support and develop talented young riders. Our aim is to help them achieve their goals in the sport by giving each a pathway to progressing to professional international cycling teams. We hand pick all our athletes, giving them the best possible support, whether it be financial, equipment supply, advisory or actual on-site support during races. Thereby ensuring every rider feels part of the team.
What’s your role within the team?
I helped set up the team five years ago, as well as racing for and managing the team throughout.
How would you sell the sport of cyclocross to the average person on the street?
Cyclocross is a very physical and technical sport but can also be extremely rewarding and fun to compete in. Races only usually last for an hour, meaning not a huge amount of training is needed to compete at a decent level and making it more accessible to riders of all ages and abilities.
Why do you love it so much?
Personally, my love of cyclocross stems from the camaraderie and new friends that you meet. As well as getting to taking part in and watch some great racing, of course.
Were you happy with how the season progressed overall?
This season has been good for the team once again. However, everyone has experienced their fair share of injuries and illnesses. Leon winning the national U16 trophy series was a main highlight. As well as Toby and Zoe finishing second in their respective categories.
Do you feel you left anything on the table as a team?
I believe with some better luck, we could have had riders competing at the World Championships, in addition to a potential National Champion or two. Especially with Leon having missed the nationals through illness.
What bikes were you kitted out with?
The team rode the Ribble CGR SL with GRX Di2 groupsets. The bikes were faultless this year. From the feedback received, the riders couldn’t have been happier with how they performed.
What was the high point of the season?
The high point would have to be Leon taking the national series title whilst winning every round he competed in.
And the low?
The low point would probably be the injury's and illnesses preventing the riders racing. It’s hard to see all the hard work the riders put in week in and week out go to waste through no fault of their own.
How does racing here in the UK differ from say Belgium and the Netherlands?
Racing in the UK doesn’t have the same strength in depth as Belgium or the Netherlands. Sadly the atmosphere and passion for the sport doesn’t yet compare with that of our continental neighbours. But we live in hope that this status quo will shift in the not too distant future.
The team was blighted by illness and injury in the build up to the National Champs, so how satisfied overall were you with how it all unfolded?
Overall we were satisfied, although the riders themselves were a little disappointed. The results were still excellent, just probably not as good as they’d have hoped for or expected had everyone been fully fit.
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