Tour of Britain 2006: In the next day’s stage four, Manning did indeed go up the road. Third place on the stage was the reward for his efforts, behind Mark Cavendish (GB and T-Mobile) and the winner, crafty Frederik Willems (Belgium & Chocolade Jacques).

There was no sign of our-boy in the top rankings though — how come Evan?

“I knew Manning would go early and I was keeping an eye out for him making a move but he didn’t seem to be interested. I made a few digs myself but there were little groups trying to go all the time, just hovering off the front then getting caught. At around 20 K Manning and another seven got away but I missed it. That was the break of the day – I wished I’d stayed with him now.”

CSC was happy to let it go?

“I don’t think they had much choice the break was going really well; we had a guy in it, Dale Appleby.”

I heard there was a bit of controversy at the end?

“Yeah, the Belgian guy who won went round the last roundabout the wrong way to get the gap, I don’t think Manning would have won though — he would probably have been second behind Cavendish.”

Tour of Britain 2006
Koen Barbe.

How is Ben’s going in the King of the Mountains?

“He’s joint-second behind Andy Schleck (Luxembourg & CSC), seven points adrift.

“There are climbs tomorrow so there’s a chance he can close the gap.

“It all depends how committed CSC are to keeping the mountains jersey, the overall is the big thing for them obviously. There’s :£1,500 for the mountains prize so they won’t want to let that go.”

Are CSC beginning to tire with all the work they have been doing?

“They still seem strong, they don’t let guys who are in the top six go, but there are always guys just outside the top placings trying to slip into breaks. I think the top ten is decided now though, I can’t see it changing before the finish.”

What is the game-plan for tomorrow’s Rochester-Canterbury stage?

“There’s been a severe weather warning for tomorrow, rain and gales, it would be better being in a break than in the bunch, so I think I’ll try and get up the road!”

VeloVeritas will be talking to Evan again after Saturday’s stage.