Evan Oliphant (Endura) lead his team to a whitewash of the Scottish road race championships on Saturday afternoon over a sunny but windswept course near Eaglesham.
Track and criterium specialist, James McCallum was second with the man who so much wanted to win – Gary Hand, in third spot.
Defending champion, Ross Creber battled to the end for fourth.
But it wouldn’t be a big Scottish race without a controversy or two.
The race is actually the Anderside Classic and was listed as such on the British Cycling website but was incorporated as the National Championship after the calendar was framed.
The closing date was listed as that for a normal road race, however, National Championship entries close early.
This confusion resulted in large numbers of entries missing the (unlisted) closing date.
‘And der’s more!’
The entry has been restricted to 60 riders – why?
Surely the National Champs should be a showcase event with as big a field as possible – not on a par with a club race.
As for the field, it looks to us that it wasn’t selected on merit, rather on the first entries received – veterans and English riders aren’t what the race is about, surely?
The vets have their own event and this was a Scottish championship.
There was little atmosphere at the start in Eaglesham before the long neutralized ride to the start on the A77.
Civilsation isn’t a big factor on this course, there’s the A77 ten course and a wilderness loop across Uplawmoor to link the two ends of the ten course.
No villages, no shops, few houses and no spectators other than race followers.
The 2009 course at Hawick with the village green at Denholm is much more what bike racing should be about.
We saw them off, through the end of the neutralised section with Andrew Davies (the bicycleworks) leading them through at a sedate pace – as befits a man of his age.
We were doing the ‘drive in the opposite direction’ thing and saw then for the first time on the climb to the reservoir; already Endura were in the action, six up the road and Dave Lines well there.
Our second look came on the A77, a new break was clear with James McCallum the Endura rep.
Young was again trying to bridge and as Evan countered, the race came to life.
The hill again, beside the GS Metro (or was it Tom Boonen) fan club and it looked like ‘game over’ already – Jamesy, Evan and Dave Lines with maybe a dozen there altogether – the question being; ‘who’ll bring that back?’
Behind, the Glasgow Wheelers could see the race slipping away and we’re reacting at the front, you could almost see Robbie Hassan’s ‘oh no!’ thought bubble.
We stayed put on the climb for their third ascent, we made it nine, with three Enduras, at least, maybe four – Evan, Jamesy, Dave and Gary Hand confirmed.
In the bunch it was Endura’s defending champion Ross Creber doing the chasing – so that lack of Endura harmony we sniffed at the start this morning wasn’t imagined?
We headed off but they crossed us early, just as they arrived on the A77 – no time to get out of the car; forgive the windscreen shots.
Still the nine were neatly echeloned ahead and it was four Enduras; but a Creber and Hassan driven group of five had the gap well inside the minute.
Behind, it was splitting, with one idiot trying to ride his group into our car – nice work.
Off again in search of our sixth sighting as the race did it’s fourth lap.
We made the climb for their fourth ascent, the sun still streaming down.
“Thinned out a bit” for sure – down to five, Gary, Evan and Jamesy plus Rob Wilkins (Stirling BC) and Euan Pope from the Glasgow Couriers who won a stage in the Morecombe Two Day, last weekend.
Dave Lines sat on the other four survivors, ‘how much down?‘ – ‘one minute, Davie.’
It was over for them and behind the fire had gone too.
Another mad breenge against the race – this time it was on the Uplawmoor Road, Pokelly Hill Farm to be precise, and again they nearly caught us out – whoosh!
Evan and Gary Hand with Jamesy in hot pursuit and Wilkins just behind.
‘We need to tell them that James is there,‘ we thought – back in the car, down the 77, pass them quick and clean – no commisairial grief, thank you – and find a spot to park.
Gary was driving hard, Evan on the wheel, ‘Jamesy’s coming up!‘ : ‘How far behind is the bunch?‘ asks Gaz.
Jamesy is looking like a tester, compact powerful, Wilkins looks tired.
Three Enduras in the lead, a dream for management – if they were here, that is.
The last climb: it’s cooler, a team trial to the finish?
Evan’s won it before, it’s not big a deal for him – Jamesy wants to win it, he’s close to Evan – closer than he is to Gary…
We’ll know in ten minutes.
Wilkins is two minutes down and tired; Ross Creber is honouring his title, chasing hard; they come over in ones, twos and a much diminished bunch.
The finish: There’s an edge on the wind, a lone rider, Evan, swerving, looking back, easy, no victory salute or smile.
Jamesy is second, and again, no signs of a smile.
Gary is third – have these boys just one-two-three’ed the Nationals and achieved a dream result, or have they been to a funeral?
Ross Creber manages a smile after finishing fourth, though.
VeloVeritas has too much respect for all of the podium finishers to take advantage of ‘heat of the moment’ quotes, so no interviews today.
The big fish ate all the little ones, as expected, but maybe there was a touch of unexpected heart burn.
And ‘get well soon’ Graeme McGarrity.
Have a look at Colin Bark’s blog for a “lead car’s eye view” of the race – it’s a good read.
1 Evan Oliphant Endura Elite 3.35.05
2 James McCallum Endura Elite 2
3 Gary Hand Endura Elite 6
4 Ross Creber Endura Elite 4.06
5 Robert Hassan Glasgow Wheelers 2nd 4.42
6 Colin Ash Activ Cycles 1st 4.45
7 Stuart McGregor Dooleys 2V 4.47
8 Robin Wilkins Stirling 2nd 4.48
9 Jason Roberts Glasgow Wheelers 2nd 4.48
10 Jamie Kennedy Glasgow Couriers 2nd 4.48
11 Gordon Murdoch EK Road Club 1st 4.54
12 David Weir Cyclingbargains 2nd 5.00
13 Grant Stevenson Glasgow Wheelers 3rd 5.50
14 Russell Bayliss GS Metro 2nd 5.50
15 Veli-matti Raikkonen Granite City 2nd 5.52
16 Stephen Russell EK Road Club 3rd 5.52
17 Roman Bardzik Granite City 3rd 5.52
18 Euan Pope Glasgow Couriers 3rd 5.55
19 Ali Watt Granite City 1V 6.01
20 Peter Murdoch EK Road Club 3rd 6.04
21 Mickey Mallen GS Metro 3rd 6.05
22 David Lines Endura Elite 6.09
23 Naill Aitken Pedal Power 2nd 11.05
24 John Clark Glasgow Wheelers 3rd 16.06
25 Andrew Davies Bicycle Works 3V 16.26