Matt Gibson sixth in Tour of Istria

Matt Gibson sixth in Tour of Istria

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Great Britain’s Matt Gibson finished sixth in the general classification at the Tour of Istria with seventh place in Sunday’s final stage.

Seventeen-year-old Gibson completed a hat-trick of top-ten finishes with an aggressive ride in Croatia as stage three, 112 kilometres from Vrsar to Pula, ended in a bunch sprint.

Belgian Enzo Wouters won the stage as France’s Aurelien Paret-Peintre took the overall win in the second event in the UCI Juniors Nations' Cup series.

Gibson, who finished fourth and sixth in stages one and two respectively, was 23 seconds back from Paret-Peintre and also took third in the points contest.

Great Britain were fourth in the team classification in the 54th edition of the race, 48 seconds behind winners France.

Well placed in the general classification heading into the stage, Gibson was forceful in pursuit of the seconds that would lift him up the places.

He launched his first attack on the day’s opening climb to Sosici, 20 kilometres into the race, building a gap of 55 seconds and taking valuable bonus time before re-joining the peloton.

A second break followed as Gibson formed part of an 11-man group which had a one-minute advantage before eventually being pulled back.

Two more attacks from Gibson in the final 20-kilometres were both reined in, leaving Joe Evans to lead Gibson out in the sprint.

Gabriel Cullaigh, impressive throughout the race, crashed out with 20-kilometres remaining and required hospital treatment to a cut on his arm.

Earlier Cullaigh was forced to temporarily switch to his spare bike after a chain malfunction, which left him chasing to get back to the main group.

“It was a really good team performance to set Matt Gibson up for that, it was little bit unlucky for Gab,” coach Matt Winston said.

“They’ve learnt a lot of lessons, a lot of good experiences: putting themselves in moves, learning how bike races unfold and that’s what these trips are about.”

Great Britain return to UCI Juniors Nations' Cup action at the Course de la Paix Juniors from 8-11 May in the Czech Republic.

General classification

1. Aurelien Paret-Peintre (France) 8:03.05
6. Matt Gibson (Great Britain) 0:23
24. Joe Evans (Great Britain) 0:34
51. Matt Bostock (Great Britain) 2:37
99. Joe Fry (Great Britain) 29:06
112. Leon Gledhill (Great Britain) 54:29

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