What’s happening at Plowman Craven, but I guess we should say ‘Madison’, now? With Scots professionals Evan Oliphant and Ross Creber on their books, we thought we’d best find out what’s going on.
Evan spoke to us on today, and told us what he could.
You’ve bailed on Plowman, Evan – to Endura, why?
“Plowman were having money problems, some of the sponsors who were to come aboard, decided not to and the team was counting on that money, apparently.
“I’ve had no wages and they couldn’t afford expenses for me to drive down south to race.
“Madison have taken the team over but there’s not enough money to allow them to compete in big races or for them to get Ross Creber and I down to races. “
Was the piece in Cycling Weekly accurate?
“I haven’t seen it but I had a good chat with Simon Barnes the other day and he says we’ll get our money; the UCI bond will be cashed to provide the necessary funds.
“I couldn’t wait any longer, though – I’m out of pocket and didn’t know what was happening. “
When did the problems start?
“I didn’t get paid for April; they said that there were changes taking place within the Plowman Craven organisation and that was the reason.
“I last got paid at the end of March, I’m still due April and May.”
We heard rumours that Tony Gibb knew what was happening from January?
“I don’t know about that, the big problem seems to be the failure of the additional sponsors to commit.
“Simon Barnes told me that he paid for the Mallorca training camp out of his own pocket.
“Cherie Pridham, who runs the team says that if she’d known earlier, she might have been able to save it.
“Initially Madison were going to pull everything back from the team; bikes, clothing, shoes, helmets – the lot, but Cherie talked them round.”
How was morale?
“The last little while, with no one knowing what was going on, it was pretty ropey.
“We didn’t know, but Cherie had been paying for a lot of expenses out of her own pocket.”
And Ross gone with you?
“Yes, we were talking to Pinarello too, but Phil Griffiths couldn’t commit because he didn’t have the funds in place.
“He was talking to people but time was passing and I had to know what I was doing.”
What was your last race for PC?
“The Edinburgh nocturne.”
What happens about your PC bike and kit?
“I had to give everything back – I was going to hang onto it until I got paid, but they wouldn’t release me from the team until I handed absolutely everything back.
“Jerseys, shorts, track suits, helmets, shoes – even the old stuff. All that’s left are socks and mitts!
“I don’t know what good the shoes are to anyone, they’re the ones that you bake in the oven to mould to your feet.”
Were the kermises in Belgium an option?
“Been there and done it!
“It’s a pain sorting it out, getting into a team, getting a bike, clothing.
“And it’s not much of a life out there.”
What was your first race for Endura?
“The crits in Woking and Peterborough in the week. I had to borrow a bike to ride them.
“I’ve got my team Giant now though, it’s a lovely bike.
“Ross rode, with James McCallum, David Lines and Scott McRae – Callum Wilkinson was there too, in case there had been a problem with Ross or me starting because of registration or whatever.”
“As I said, Phil didn’t know if he could afford us at Pinarello and I had to make a decision.
“Endura are registered as a UCI track team, so James McCallum and I can ride the World Cups – with the Commonwealth Games coming up, that’s a big plus.”
No Tours of Ireland or Britain?
“That’s a sacrifice that I have to accept.
“Even if I’d gone to Pinarello, Phil said that it would have been very difficult for him to leave guys out of his national tours team to give me a place after they’ve worked hard all year.
“The other aspect with Pinarello is that I would have ended up just working for Russ Downing all the time.”
Endura; maybe we expected a little more from them – down south and racing abroad?
“There haven’t really been enough guys to ride a programme that included races abroad, it’s a case of consolidation this year and grow it in 2010.
“That’s one of the reasons that I’ve become involved.”
“Endura are setting their sights higher; James, Ross and I are all on the Elite Athlete Programme for the Commonwealth Games – along with Gareth Montgomerie.”
Will we see you at West Calder, tomorrow? [for the 4th Super Six race]
“No, I’m down at the Rydale Premier with Ross, Duncan Urquhart and Callum Wilkinson. It should be good – I won it in 2006.
“One of the things I’m looking forward to with Endura, is having more say in how the team rides.
“I’ll see you at the “25” champs though – I need to make amends for the “10” champs!”
With thanks to Evan for the heads-up on the latest news, and best of luck for the rest of the season.