Yesterday at the Tour of Britain 2007, Evan told us that he and Gordon McCauley were going to jump-away from the gun and stay-away to the line. Did that happen in Southampton?

– Reported by Evan Oliphant –

Did it work out like that, Evan?

“No, I was away early, Plowman Craven did go from the gun but there were attacks going all over the place and everything got hauled-back.

“The stage was Reading to Southampton, 140 kilometres with a couple of third cat climbs, but nothing serious. At the team meet last night, (DS Eric Vanderaerden) said that they (Cavendish’s T-Mobile squad) wouldn’t let a big group go, they would let two or three guys go, because they would be able to bring that back. Eric reckoned that it would unlikely that a

big break would be allowed to go, but we should keep our wits about us and get Daniel Lloyd into it, if it did happen.”Eventually a couple of guys were let go and I could have gone with them, but I could see that Eric was right and it was a suicide job. T-Mobile did bring it back together and Cavendish won again, in a bunch sprint. Nico [Mattan] jumped the string with 3k to go and got a good gap before they dragged him back, we were lined-out when he went, so he must have good form.”

A good day for Evan?

“Yeah, I didn’t dig deep and I avoided the crashes, it was a bit wild on the run-in, a lot of guys came down. Robert Hunter was one of them. James McCallum came in with Hunter, I think; James punctured with 10k to go — he pulled his wheel yesterday and now a puncture today: he’s not having much luck.”

Southampton
Tour de France Champs Elysee Stage Winner Dimitri Konyshev chats to Brian Smith.

A good day for DFL?

“Yeah, there was a main group of 57 and we got everyone in it; Daniel was 14th, so we can’t grumble.”

Who’s impressing?

“Cavendish; he’s winning everything! It’ll be different tomorrow, I think; the first half of the stage is flat but the second half, there 70 kilometres-worth of had climbs.”

Tour de France Champs Elysee Stage Winner Dimitri Konyshev has it all explained to him.

Last year, Boonen, in particular, was critical of the organisation.

“Yeah, the traffic situation. It’s much better this year, the roads are very quiet, but maybe even a little too small; the race route today was 140 k, but as the crow flies it’s only about 60 k — the route twists and turns so much on little roads, you hardly go 500 metres without a change of direction.

“At one stage today, we were riding alongside an unfenced field, full of horses and donkeys! The fact that we’re not actually doing a lot of distance across the ground means that the transfers a long too; we had one-and-a-half hours in the car, before the stage yesterday, then the same again after the stage.”

With the demise of Unibet, Discovery and Gerolsteiner, is there a sense of panic about contracts, around?

“Not that I’ve noticed, I don’t think it makes much difference to guys at this level; it’s more a ProTour team problem.”

How’s 2008 looking for you?

“I hope to catch-up with the team-owner, Nick Collins within the next few days, ask me again at the finish!”

Evan’s diary – Stage One         Evan’s diary – Stage Three