Ah, the Girvan — and VeloVeritas are right there, with Evan Oliphant (Plowman Craven) and Gary Hand (Endura) keeping us abreast of what’s going on in South West Scotland.
Saturday 11th April
Give us the low down on the stage please, Evan.
“We took the stage and all the jerseys — not a bad day’s work; and the sun’s out, too!
“I was in the big early break, initially there were 12 but another three got across; we had two there, me and Ross Creber but Pinarello only had Elliott so them and Kinesis brought it back.
“There was a lot of jumping around after that, then a break of seven went and it was the right combination with all of the big teams represented.
“Everyone was blocking behind; we had two there, Tom Murray and James Millard.
“In the sprint James was away with Simon Richardson of Rapha but Tom caught them on the line to take the stage and the jersey — he took the King of the Mountains; James took the sprints jersey, so it was a great day for us.
“Those seven took a minute plus, so the GC is pretty well tied up; I didn’t understand why Rapha wouldn’t commit in the big, early break, they were well represented, I think if they’d got down to it then that would have been it. “
And Gary’s take?
“The nice weather makes it all kind of surreal — it’s just not like Girvan!
“I finished in the main bunch, but my big target is the King of the Mountains — I took enough placings to get me equal on points with Murray, but I’ll get to wear the mountains jersey because he has the leader’s jersey.
“The team are all riding well; I think the GC is all over, though — those seven have a minute on the rest.
“We’ll be concentrating on the Mountains, now.”
The Girvan – Stage One Result
1. Tom Murray Plowman Craven E 2:21:05
2. Peter Williams CandiTV-Pinarello E st
3. Marcin Bialoblocki Team E12 E st
4. Simon Richardson Rapha Condor E st
5. Andy Tennant Halfords Bike Hut Esp 1 st
6. James Millard Plowman Craven E at 0:03
7. Darren Barclay Artic – Premier 1 at 0:06
8. Rob Partridge Halfords Bike Hut E at 1:03
9. Mat Kipling KUK Kinesis E st 92
10. Malcolm Elliott CandiTV-Pinarello E st
The criterium second stage wasn’t such a good day at the office for Evan, though:
“I never moved from the front five all night and with three to go we were moving Tom Murray up when Dale Appleby (Pinarello) made a dive for it — unfortunately, he grounded a pedal and came down right in front of me.
“He caught it so hard that his bike spun 180 degrees; he was facing me when I hit him!”
(Editorial note: we once followed Appleby through the last kilometre of a stage at Girvan — his cornering has to be seen to be believed.)
“A load of guys piled into me and I’ve got an injured hamstring; I’m not sure how I got it, it all happened so fast.
“I had to ride the last three laps on a wrecked bike — the frame is broken and both of the wheels.
“It was a fast stage — Russ Downing got shelled but his Pinarello team mate Briggs took the win.
“The mechanics are working on a new bike for me now (9.00 pm) and I’m going to do a little spell on the rollers to try and it and loosen my legs off.
“The soigneur worked on it right after, but I’m still sore — we’ll see what I’m like in the morning.”
Gary’s criterium was a less traumatic affair:
“In the crit I just screwed the nut, the GC is finished; it’s the mountains jersey that counts.
“The main thing tonight was to help James McCallum; he was well clear coming into the finale but he got caught up with some lapped riders and that was that.
“I heard Evan had crashed, but didn’t realise that it was that bad.”
The Girvan – Stage Two Result
1. Graham Briggs CandiTV-Pinarello E 38:12
2. Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bike Hut E st
3. Kristian House Rapha Condor E st
4. Simon Gaywood Corley Cycles E st
5. James Millard Plowman Craven E st
6. Will Bjergfelt Team E12 E st
7. Chris McNamara Corley Cycles E st
8. James McCallum Endura Racing 1 st
9. Wouter Sybrandy Sigma Sport – Spec E st
10. Matt Higgins Corley Cycles E st
Overall Classification after Stage Two
1. Tom Murray Plowman Craven E 2:59:02
2. Marcin Bialoblocki Team E12 E at 0:10
3. Simon Richardson Rapha Condor E at 0:15
4. Andy Tennant Halfords Bike Hut Esp 1 st
5. James Millard Plowman Craven E at 0:18
6. Peter Williams CandiTV-Pinarello E at 0:25
7. Darren Barclay Artic – Premier 1 at 0:31
8. Graham Briggs CandiTV-Pinarello E at 1:08
9. Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bike Hut E at 1:12
10. Kristian House Rapha Condor E at 1:15
Sunday 12th April
This stage saw Evan in a worklike mode:
“Not at my best, but I got round; I had a yellow jersey to defend.
“We had a 35 mile chase at one stage; the whole team was on the front — into a block headwind.
“Richardson was up the road, he was one of the seven who were in the move yesterday; the thing is that we could see them most of the time, just up the road. The break went clear on the first climb and there were about 30 or-so who were out the back for good after that, they never got back.
“When we eventually got the break back there was a lot of jumping about; Halfords went on the attack — Tom Murray punctured right then, at the worst possible time.
“It was his rear wheel and just as he got rolling again, his front tyre went down, but the car was servicing Tom Barras too — he’d punctured as well!
“We dropped back to help but only he managed to get back to the front, he’d been sitting on during the chase, so his legs were OK — not like ours; we didn’t get back. We still had Ross Creber up front and he waited for Murray, but Tom just went straight past him.
“Fortunately he got back to the head of the action and held on to the jersey; Russ Downing took the stage — I just rolled in the last 30 K.
“I’ve been pedalling harder with the leg that I didn’t injure, so now my back hurts!
“I’ve had massage on my leg, ice on it, and ridden the rollers to try and loosen it off — tomorrow’s another day.”