‘Close, but no cigar’ was the story of Evan Oliphant’s Games – two top six placings on the track, a sterling support job for David Millar in the road race and a top 12 finish against the clock couldn’t compensate for not bringing home a shiny disc of bright metal.
Despite the disappointment with his results Evan took time to talk to track, road, time trials – and mosquitoes, to VeloVeritas.
Happy with your Games, Evan?
“Overall I did decent rides but I would really have liked a medal.”
You rode the points race.
“In the qualifying on the Tuesday, folks were saying to me that I just made it through – but 12 got away and lapped the field, I was there so with 12 to qualify, that was it.
“But there were guys in there sprinting like mad for points, I couldn’t understand it.
“Jamesy (McCallum) and Davie Lines got through in the other heat so we had three in the final.
“In the Wednesday final we all knew that Meyer was the man to beat and we knew that Wales, England and the Isle of Man would all be marking him closely. I spoke to him before the start and he said that he was going to let it all settle down before he made his move and to stick with him.
“I did that and we got a lap, but what he didn’t say was that he was going to go for another one straight away!
“The officials had outlawed his bars before the start and I think he was out to prove a point.
“I ended up sixth, I tried had but could never quite get in the right combination to make it work.”
How did the scratch go?
“Again, Jamesy and Davie were in a different heat from me but they didn’t get through.
“The scratch is always a bit of a lottery and Meyer was in a class of his own.
“Meyer was the only rider to lap me; but again it wasn’t possible to get the right people in the move.”
The road race looked a tad bleak.
“It was weird, the security was very tight and the spectators were in fenced off areas.
“It all kicked off in the second half and once David Millar was in the move it was our job to cover for him – but once it went to two minutes, that was it.”
You were even clock bashing?
“It was my bonus event, I was in the first wave and at the end of that I was leading by seven minutes – I got good TV exposure.
“I had Jamesy and Ross Creber in the following car to encourage me, so that was fun.
“It was a screaming tail wind out and block headwind back.
“David Millar gave me a few tips, the main one being to find the gear I was comfortable with for the way out then change down one cog – the race was all about the leg back from the turn – I was doing 65 kph on the way out.
“I had a bit of hassle with the commisars about the dimensions of the bike, before the start.
“But on the Looks there’s a lot of adjustment on the bars and stem so we were able to adjust things and the new position was actually better for me.”
Man of the match?
“Cameron Meyer, he completely controlled the scratch race on his own – he ruined it as a race.
“And in the road race he controlled the field for the first seven laps, by himself.”
A good Games for Scotland?
“Disappointing at the track – but the Aussies were just so much better than everyone.
“Kate Cullen and Jamesy were both ill, so that didn’t help.
“I was there and thereabouts but it was disappointing because there were riders whom I know I’m at least the equal of who got in the medals.
“On the road, Millar was really happy with his bronze and how we rode for him – the team made that medal – it was a bonus; he was there for the time trial.”
The ‘creepy crawlies’ aspect?
“It didn’t worry me – I ride the grass tracks, remember? You never know what’s going to appear out of that grass!
“I slept inside a mosquito net and one of our sponsor at Endura is ‘Sleep Athlete’ so we had our own comfortable bedding and pillow – the pillow even has a facility built in for your iPod.
“Having said all of that, when I opened my bags the other day, a huge mosquito flew out – it must have sneaked aboard!”
And what happens now if you’re a Scottish rider?
“You get forgotten for two years – unless you’re a youngster – there’s no funding.
“But I think that when the Glasgow track opens it will make a huge difference.”
2010 – a good year for you?
“I think I won every thing I rode in Scotland and every Premier I rode, I was in the top five; I finished fourth overall.
“Next year the Endura team will be bigger and we’ll be running a dual programme – UK and Euro.
“The plan is to ride one Euro stage race per month, next year.”
“I’ve got to get a medal!
“I think that the time trial could be my new discipline, though.”
With thanks to Evan for his time – and VeloVeritas will be petitioning the Games organisers to include a five mile ‘gress’ event at the Glasgow Games.