The Giro; for the weeks before and during it’s like the Death Star, sucking all other cycling results in and destroying them. But one result we couldn’t let pass without comment was Evan Oliphant’s splendid win in the Premier Calendar Tour of the Reservoir.
However, before we get into the tactical battles up on the moors, welcome to the world to Fletcher John Oliphant born a month ago and weighing 8 lb 15.5 oz.
Not as skinny as his dad, then?
Congratulations to Annette and Evan on their happy event from VeloVeritas.
And more congratulations to Evan for turning round a Stage One deficit of five seconds to overall victory in The Reservoir by 13 seconds over Team UK Youth’s Chris Opie, the man who took that first stage.
Two stages now for The Reservoir?
“This was the first year it’s been two stages; the Saturday stage was 120km over five laps with a climb similar to the Nick o’ Balloch.
“It went straight out the blocks, ending up with a group of 14 up the road – I had to go round a lot of bodies to get up there.
“Rapha missed it, there were four Sigmas and four UK Youth; I had Rob Britton with me. We rode through and off until two to go when Simon Yates (100%ME) attacked, Rob countered so UK Youth and Sigma chased.
“Then I went away with Steve Lampier (Node 4) and Yates but it was a block headwind to the finish and we were caught.
“At the death I was 12th out of 14 @ 5 seconds behind Opie.
“On the Sunday, UK Youth had four in the top 10, so it was up to them to control things. We put Lachlan Norris in the break which was perfect for us; but it was really windy and UK Youth split it up with their riding to control things. But it’s eight laps and on the last two you could see that they were tiring.
“We put Rob Britton up the road and they had to chase hard to get him back. With a lap to go, I went with Andy Tennant and Liam Holohan (both Madison-Genesis) and Lampier.
“With six miles to go I could see they were all on our knees, so I put it in the big ring and went solo – I could see that the chase group was coming up but I only needed five seconds advantage to win overall.
“I reckoned I needed 20 seconds at the bottom of the climb to the finish to win – if someone had been strong then they could have got up to me but everyone was wasted and I held on with 13 seconds over Opie to win overall by seven seconds.”
When I see pictures of that race it always looks so bleak.
“Saturday was in the moors – middle of nowhere stuff – but Sunday’s parcours takes in some nice villages and there were actually a lot of folk out to watch.”
Has ‘no Endura’ changed things, this year?
“They can’t ride most UK races now because they’re Pro Continental – but I think it makes for better racing.
“The tendency last year was for everyone to wait until Endura took control – albeit we won the last Premier of the year because we took control of things and didn’t wait around.”
There seem to be some strong UK teams on the go, this year.
“UK Youth had eight strong guys at the Reservoir and there’s Madison, Node 4, 100% ME, Sigma…
“We were at a wee bit of a disadvantage at the Reservoir because we only had five riders – the rest of our guys were in France and we have Alex Blain out with knee problems.”
It doesn’t seem as if you’ve been disadvantaged by not riding in Europe, this season?
“I was at the Haut Var and Lilliers but there were so many races affected by the bad weather.
“I was supposed to ride the Tour of Normandy and in the Ardennes but that was when the baby was due so I didn’t go.
“But I knew in the Scottish races at Gifford and in the Drummond that I had good form – maybe I’m fresher as a result of not racing so much?
“I had six days off when the baby arrived – so maybe it’s like Rob Hayles says; ‘when you’re going well, don’t touch your bike!’”
Is The Reservoir a Commonwealth Games qualifier?
“Strictly speaking, no.
“UCI races qualify – but I don’t think it’ll have done me any harm.”
“I have The Ràs coming up for the Scotland team – I ride with Alex Coutts, Michael Nicholson, Robbie Hassan and Ben Greenwood.
“Ben is our ‘Secret Scot’ – he qualifies because he lives up here now.
“He’s going very well, I was first and he was second over the Crow Road on Saturday; then we swapped places in the Kilmacolm race on Sunday.
“Because I’m at the Ras I’ll miss most of the Tour Series crits then it’ll be back in to Premiers; and we have a stage race in France.”
The British Road race in Glasgow must be a big goal?
“Yeah, it’s like a big crit through the streets of Glasgow – like the Melbourne Commonwealth Games course.
“I liked that course for the British at Abergaveny in 2009, a lot of it was in the town – I was seventh there, my best in the Elite Championship.
“I hope to be well prepared for it, this year.”
And on the subject of Glasgow…
“I haven’t been on the track there for about six weeks but I’ll be going back to it to prepare for the Commonwealth Games track racing.
“I was fifth in the Points in Delhi and fourth in Melbourne, so I think it’s my best opportunity.”
What about those other games…
“I might ride a few Highland Games if there’s nowt else on – I like to ride at Halkirk; go back to my roots.
“I first raced up there on the grass track when I was 13 or 14 – I’m 31 now.
“Racing there is good fun and you can win a lot of bottles of whisky – they’re handy for Xmas presents!”
What’s your take on the current Scottish road scene?
“I think the standard has improved but I think that often the courses are too hard for the level most riders are at.
“I mean, the Crow Road – it takes a lot for most guys to just get up it, never mind race up it.
“The Balfron course for the Scottish Road Championship is a good one – the race was still together with a lap to go.”
Does it look like you’ll be with Raleigh for 2014?
“I think so, the team has plans to go Pro Continental and with Alex Blain and Eric Berthou they have serious riders who have raced at the highest level and who you can learn a lot from.
“We’ve had some strong European results – Tom Scully won the prologue in Normandy and Blain was close to winning it overall, just three seconds behind Dillier.”
What else would you like to achieve, in 2013?
“I’m going to target the Premier Series – there are five more to go.
“First we have the Lincoln; then the Beaumont and Ryedale – and I’ve won both of those.
“The harder the race, the better it suits me!
“The British road race is a big goal and at the end of the year I’ll get back on the track in preparation for the Games.
“Riding the track has definitely helped me – I feel it in my pedalling on the road.”
Chances at the Lincoln?
“The best I’ve been there in the past is fifth – it’s a great race with huge crowds in Lincoln.
“But the field will be enormous – maybe 180 riders and there’s always chaos going into the climb every lap.
“Maybe it’s a day for the early break…”
Result - Tour of the Reservoir 2013
2 Simon Yates 100% ME Finished Elite 02:55:01:000 25
3 Niklas Gustavsson Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Finished 1st 02:55:02:000 0
4 Thomas Stewart Team Sportscover Finished 1st 17
5 Peter Hawkins Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished 2nd 14
6 Mike Northey Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished Elite 02:55:03:000 12
7 Andrew Tennant Madison Genesis Finished Elite 10
8 Robert Partridge Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Finished 1st 02:55:04:000 8
9 Robert Britton Team Raleigh Finished 1st 7
10 Steve Lampier Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished Elite 02:55:05:000 6
11 Ben Greenwood Team Hope Factory Racing Finished Elite 02:55:06:000 5
12 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh Finished Elite 4
13 Yanto Barker Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Finished Elite 02:55:16:000 3
14 Wouter Sybrandy Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished Elite 02:55:24:000 2
15 James Moss Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished Elite 03:00:20:000 1
16 Peter Williams Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished Elite 03:01:04:000 0
17 Ian Bibby Madison Genesis Finished Elite 03:01:07:000 0
18 Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Finished Elite 03:01:08:000 0
19 Matthew Holmes Team Raleigh Finished Elite 03:01:15:000 0
20 Nathan Edmondson Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished 2nd 03:01:16:000 0
21 George Atkins Team USN Finished Elite 03:01:34:000 0
22 Perry Bowater MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling Finished 1st 03:02:30:000 0
23 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes…. Finished Elite 03:05:12:000 0
24 Joseph Kelly 100% ME Finished Elite 03:05:13:000 0
25 Andrew Magnier Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished 2nd 03:05:19:000 0
26 Thomas Scully Team Raleigh Finished 1st 03:05:44:000 0
27 Matthew Clarke Halesowen A & CC Finished 1st 03:06:51:000 0
28 Gary Hand Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes…. Finished Elite 03:06:52:000 0
29 Andrew Coupe Wheelbase Altura MGD Finished 1st 03:06:54:000 0
30 Ryan Mullen Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished Elite 03:06:55:000 0
31 James Sharp Team Hope Factory Racing Finished 2nd 03:08:07:000 0
32 Kit Gilham Metaltek – Knights of Old Raci… Finished Elite 0
33 Tom Murray Metaltek – Knights of Old Raci… Finished 1st 03:08:08:000 0
34 Tom Stockdale Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals … Finished Elite 03:08:11:000 0
35 Declan Byrne MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling Finished 1st 03:08:15:000 0
36 Dan Barry Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished 1st 03:08:16:000 0
37 Ian Wilkinson Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Finished Elite 0
38 Alistair Rutherford Wheelbase Altura MGD Finished Elite 03:08:21:000 0
39 Shem Rodger Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished 1st 03:11:11:000 0
40 George Harper Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT Finished 1st 03:12:26:000 0
41 Michael Cuming Rapha Condor JLT Finished Elite 03:12:33:000 0
42 David Lines MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling Finished 1st 0
43 Michael Ashurst Biketreks Racing Academy Finished 1st 03:12:34:000 0
44 Matt Cronshaw Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished Elite 0
45 George Pym Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals … Finished 1st 0
46 Joseph Perrett Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished 1st 0
47 Colin Parry Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals … Finished Elite 0
48 Jack Pullar Madison Genesis Finished Elite 0
49 Tom Barras Wheelbase Altura MGD Finished Elite 0
50 Joseph Moses Team Sportscover Finished 2nd 0
51 Alex Peters Madison Genesis Finished Elite 0
52 Samuel Lowe 100% ME Finished Elite 03:12:35:000 0
53 William Bjergfelt MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling Finished Elite 0
54 Jonathan Dibben 100% ME Finished Elite 0
55 Harry Godding P@Toachim House Finished 1st 0
56 Robert Ward Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT Finished 2nd 0
57 Andrew Roche Finished 1st 0
58 Owain Doull 100% ME Finished Elite 0
59 Chris Sherriffs Team Leapfrog Finished 1st 0
60 Ryan Bevis NFTO Finished 2nd 0
2 Chris Opie Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Finished Elite 04:22:16:000 25
3 Peter Hawkins Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished 2nd 04:22:17:000 21
4 George Harper Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT Finished 1st 04:22:18:000 17
5 Thomas Stewart Team Sportscover Finished 1st 14
6 Lachlan Norris Team Raleigh Finished 1st 04:22:20:000 12
7 Andrew Tennant Madison Genesis Finished Elite 04:22:23:000 10
8 Steve Lampier Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished Elite 04:22:25:000 8
9 Mike Northey Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished Elite 04:22:26:000 7
10 Robert Partridge Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Finished 1st 04:22:32:000 6
11 Declan Byrne MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling Finished 1st 04:22:34:000 5
12 Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Finished Elite 04:22:48:000 4
13 Liam Holohan Madison Genesis Finished Elite 04:22:55:000 3
14 Ben Greenwood Team Hope Factory Racing Finished Elite 04:23:01:000 2
15 James Williamson Node4 – Giordana Racing Finished 1st 1
16 Joseph Kelly 100% ME Finished Elite 04:23:04:000 0
17 Peter Williams Team IG – Sigma Sport Finished Elite 04:23:08