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Q&A with scratch race world champion Dylan Bibic

The Mississauga, Ont., rider breaks down his big win

by Barry Lyster

This past Thursday, Mississauga, Ont.’s Dylan Bibic won the world championship scratch race in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France. This interview was conducted just before the final day of competition at the 2022 track world championships. The 19-year-old rider looks at the tactics of the scratch race and what the victory means to him.

Tell me how the scratch race played out?

Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect. I had no perception on know how strong I would be compared with the field. The first half of the race was just a paceline. The last quarter, I knew I had to be in the front group and I knew I had to be in the top group of guys because I was watching videos beforehand. It would split apart, make gaps. If you are in with the top few guys, it might take a bit more energy at first but you won’t have to close gaps. With six laps to go, people just started flying off the front. The pace started ramping up. I was sitting seventh or eighth wheel, just following others. With three laps to go, I decided it was time to move up and slotted in behind the Belgian as the French rider let me in, which made be very happy. I looked back and went into the red. I let the Belgian guy get one or two bike lengths on me and as soon as I sensed the Netherlands guy started to get near me, I dove to the black, rushed through and popped out to get the win.

Did you have any moments of worry?

Yeah. Actually, with 10 laps left, it was like ‘Oh, this is so hard.’ It really felt like a 10-minute test. It was like, ‘I don’t know how much of this I can handle.’ I saw three laps to go and in my mind, I forgot about the pain and just focused on the win.

What was the best decision you made in the race?

My patience in the sprint, not like when the guys were going off the front, a lot of people would have just started following. I think I played it to the right time and then positioning myself for the last lap with the gap, and then rushing through and out.

Did you learn anything new?

I think I have a good sense of the competition now. To be fair, I didn’t face the best of the best guys in the scratch race, so I still have a long way to go. Now, I’m just doing the omnium and I am struggling to get top-10s. I have a long way to go, but I hope one day to become the best in the world.

This is your first elite world champs. How does it compare with the junior worlds?

Oh, it’s so different. Juniors is more like sprint-paced, for example. It goes sprint, easy, sprint, easy. Maybe there’s one lap taken, but here it feels like a time trial with sprints. It’s crazy.

Does this win change anything for you? Any expectation? What next?

Well, it got me into Champions League, so I’ll get a lot more race experience there.