The Tour of Britain 2006 kicked-off in Glasgow on Tuesday morning with a 101.1 mile haul from Glasgow to Castle Douglas.
Last year Evan Oliphant (Recycling) grabbed an excellent second place on a stage behind Russian champion Sergei Ivanov (T-Mobile).
This year he’ll be talking to VeloVeritas every day after the stage, we caught-up with him before the stage whilst he was stocking-up on victuals for the stage and receiving a light massage.
To set the scene Evan, tell us about your palmares for 2006.
“I’ve won a couple of decent races in England — The Ryedale Classic for one; but I also won a stage in the Tour of Wellington in New Zealand earlier in the year and I got second on a stage in the Tour of Langkawi.”
What’s the game-plan for this Tour?
“I’m just going to see how it goes and keep trying to get with a good move. You won’t see much of me today; I don’t want to kill myself too early in the race.”
Evan was in the Recycling team car, heading for Blackpool but stuck in traffic when I reached him on the mobile phone after the stage.
Blackpool? Are you going to the Freddy Starr show tonight then?
“No, I don’t think so.”
I believe the break went early and stayed away?
“The first hour was easy, 20 mph stuff. The three guys who went away, Martin Pedersen (Denmark CSC), Luis Pasamontes (Spain/Unibet) Matt Goss ( South Australia) was the order at the line] had 6 minutes in no time, the maximum they had was around 11 minutes. The speed in the bunch went-up at the end but it wasn’t too bad and the break still had two and a half minutes at the death.”
How did you fare in the bunch sprint?
“It was only for fourth and Chicchi won it, I was 18th.”
What was it like riding with the big pros again?
“I was surprised, every time there was a wee spec of rain they were back at the car putting capes on and Kloden climbed-off at the feed.”
Who impressed you today?
“Boonen did a lot of work on the front today, I was surprised by that and I don’t think that Quick Step are going to let the race go so easily.”
A good day or a bad one for Recycling?
“We had no one in the break, so that’s not great and Chris Newton crashed with 7 K to go, but he only has scratches.”
How do you see tomorrow going?
“I think that Quick Step will go on the attack early to try and split it on the three big climbs which come early on the stage. We rode those climbs in training the other week, so we know what to expect.”.
Tomorrow’s stage goes from Blackpool to Liverpool, the three big climbs come early and there is 100 K after the last summit to get back-on. If Quick Step aren’t driving the echelons that is.