We caught up with Scottish professional Evan Oliphant shortly after he returned from a winter spent racing in Australia, and just prior to his new DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed team’s official launch in Holland.
A change of squad for 2007, Evan.
“Yes, Recycling have gone under-23 for this season and besides, I have to move to the next level. I won’t progress riding another season of Premiers in England.”
Tell us about your winter.
“I was out there from late November to mid-February. The first week I was there I just took it easy to get acclimatised, then I started to do a lot of long, steady distance work.
“Over the Xmas period I rode the track carnivals in Tasmania. I was surprised at how well I was going because it was my first track racing since the Commonwealth Games.
“I rode seven track carnivals plus a criterium but I was also going out in the morning and doing road work. I didn’t make a fortune though, the big money is in the handicap “wheelraces” and it was one of those years where the scratch guys just couldn’t get-up; it was long-markers doing all the winning. One day I did four hours in the morning plus a track meet in the afternoon – I was pretty tired at the end of that!”
After that, you rode the Bay Criterium series again, didn’t you?
“Yes, I only rode two, I got a fifth and a fourth in the last one. I wouldn’t have been far away in that last one but I had a slow puncture and I was on the rim for the sprint. Those two results put me tenth overall in the series, so I made a few dollars there.
“I had an easy week in the middle of January then did two weeks of solid miles, five or six hours per day. DFL had planned to ride Langkawi, but that fell-through so I trained hard instead. I rode three or four crits before I came home and won the lot, despite the fact that I rode out to them for training.”
“The team-launch is on Monday 26th February, then we’re straight into our programme. I think we’re riding Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, then Fayt-le-Franc, the Three Days of West Flanders, the Three Days of De Panne (read VeloVeritas story about the 2004 De Panne here), and Ghent-Wevelgem.”
Those are serious races.
“Yes, the team is Continental Professional this year and having Nico Mattan as a rider and Eric Vanderarden as team manager opens a lot of doors.”
You’ll be based in Belgium then?
“Yes, I’ll only be home for the Tour of Britain and National road race champs. The team has a house over there, the GB and Aussie guys stayed there last year.”
Your goals for 2007?
“I’ll need to see my programme first but basically I want to get noticed and step-up to a bigger team next year.”
Thanks for your time, Evan and all the best for 2007. VeloVeritas will be stalking Evan at Kuurne – we’ll keep you posted.