The result may have been predictable, but Evan Oliphant (DFL) only took home the gold medal in a sodden Scottish Road Race Championships 2007 after an incident-packed four hours.
Taking a well-deserved silver medal and ‘moral victor’ of the championship was pre-race favourite Raymond Wilson (Dunfermline CC).
The Irishman displayed great strength of character against Oliphant and the Velo Ecosse duo of Phil Brown and Stuart MacGregor; these four riders dominated the finale with Brown taking his first ever road race medal, leaving MacGregor with just the â‚¬30 fourth prize as consolation.
The race took in two laps of a large circuit which included the brutal Nick o’ Balloch climb; then two laps of a small finishing circuit near Straiton.
By the end of the first lap of the main circuit around half of the field had succumbed to the dismal conditions, hills and gravel-strewn surfaces.
Gary Hand (KFS) meanwhile, had flown the nest and was on a gallant – or over-optimistic, depending on your point of view – solo off the front.
As Hand, and then the survivors of the bunch, left Straiton to start their second lap they were mis-directed and it took the organisers a little time to sort things out.
Paul Rennie (Edge RT) didn’t hang around to see what the outcome would be, he popped a u-turn and headed for the strip.
It was a wet, cold and de-motivated group of riders who eventually re-started 39 seconds behind Hand – albeit he did get away right behind a well-timed truck; as pre-race favourite but eventual non-finisher, Gordon Murdoch (East Kilbride RC) succinctly put it; ‘he’s jumped a f**king juggernaut!’
The only happy riders were those souls who had been dropped but caught-up again at the enforced halt.
Indeed, Oliphant had to be persuaded to continue.
On the Nick for the second time MacGregor, Brown and Hand lead by a handful of seconds from Wilson, Arthur Doyle (Ivy CC), Oliphant and a surprising Michael Mallen (GS Metro).
The two groups merged before the top and the race was over for all but these seven riders; Brown took the prime as the weather conditions went from bad to grim.