It’s been a while since we spoke to our friendly Scottish Pro Evan Oliphant, so we figured this was a good time to get a progress report for the season so far, how life is treating him in Belgium and the setup in the new DFL team.
What have you ridden this year?
“I’ve ridden about a dozen races; it’s less than I would like, but I was sick around De Panne time and missed quite a number of events.
“That’s the thing about six of us sharing the house here, if one gets sick then you all do, it was Dan Fleeman who was sick first on that occasion.
“The toughest races I’ve ridden have been in Germany, I rode the Rund um Koln (203 kilometres, won by Juan Jose Haedo of CSC) and the Rund um den Henninger Turm (approx. 200 kilometres, won by Patrik Sinkewitz of T-Mobile —and Britain’s Barry Hoban in 1966) they were horrible!
“I also rode the Scheldeprijs, which ‘Cav’ (Mark Cavendish of GB and T-Mobile) won, it wasn’t bad because it’s pan-flat.
“It wasn’t flat in Germany though, Henninger Turm goes up into the Taunus Mountains. My best result was at Drenthe in Holland where I got 15th, I was away on my own going for 7th but I got caught with 300 metres to go.”
What’s coming up next?
“The Dunkirk Four Day — but it’s actually six days; I was just looking at the start sheet and half the teams lining-up are Pro Tour.
“I think I may be home after that to ride the Scottish 10 and road race; we’ve nothing planned until the Tours of Belgium and Luxembourg, I’d prefer to ride the latter because it’s a bigger race.
“The thing is, because we’re pro continental we can only really ride hard races and you are up against Pro Tour guys in everything you ride. Eric Vanderaerden, our team manager has said that it should be easier to get results now that the classics season is finished, guys won’t be so full-on and a lot of them will be thinking about the Tour.
“The team is riding the Tour of Britain, I’m not sure yet if will be though — that’ll be about the smallest race we ride all year. When you see the crowds at German races you realise that cycling isn’t a big sport in Britain — you can’t compare it to the continent.”
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
“To get top three placings and get noticed, but like I said, that’s difficult because of the standard of the races we ride. I also want to win the British road race championship.”
“Good; better than I imagined it would be, well organised and the programme is good too — no complaints. The house where we say is fine, a maximum of six of us stay there but just now, for example, there are only three of us, so it’s not crowded.”
What’s DFL’s best result so far?
“Jens Mouris (Holland) got a top ten in West Flanders but we’re hoping for better things over the next few weeks.”
How’s Nico Mattan doing as team captain?
“He’s very keen to help and great when it comes to race rehearsals because he knows all the courses so well. In the races he’s always on the radio telling us what’s coming-up, where to sit in the bunch and to move-up if we have to.
“I hadn’t realised how popular he is here, when you’re out on the bike and people in cars see the DFL jersey they lean out of the window and shout ‘Where’s Nico?'”
Who’s impressing you?
“There’s not really one person who I would point to, but CSC are certainly the most impressive team. They are always willing to race and are represented in every move; some of the Pro Tour teams sit back and leave it to others to make the racing but CSC go with everything right from the start.”
Favourite things about Belgium?
“The waffles! I even eat them in races. The weather has been great too; I haven’t raced in the rain yet, although the weather is forecast to break soon.
“I also really like the fact that drivers respect you, no one blasts horns at you and they’ll wait until they can pass if you are riding two-abreast.”
What do you miss about Scotland?
“I’ve been away so much that I don’t really miss anything, I was in Australia for the whole winter then I’ve been here all season so far.”
VeloVeritas will be at the Scottish 10 and road race champs so we’ll catch-up with Evan at one or both. In the meantime, good luck at Dunkirk, Evan.