Ever-versatile Endura man, Evan Oliphant crammed just about every discipline into last weekend – criterium, Premier one day and a British grass track title.
We had a word…
Criterium at Dumfries on Friday, Evan?
“It was my first crit of 2010 and I felt good – I did a lot of attacking and countering in the last five laps and gave Wilko (Ian Wilkinson) his lead out.
“Wilko won it from Dean Downing and Ed Clancy – I hoped to make the podium but I’d done a lot of work in those last laps and had to settle for fourth.”
And a Premier on Sunday at Dumfries?
“Yeah, over 102 miles, rolling, like Doon Hame, but I was never in the inside ring.
“Callum Wilkinson and me got in a break of 12 or 13 but Julian Winn [Endura DS] told us not to work because Dean Downing and Graham Briggs were there and he thought we could get one of our sprinters across.
“In the event, we didn’t and got a lot of stick from the others in the break for not contributing.
“Callum was dropped and I punctured but got neutral service and managed to get back.
“I ended up having to cover everything myself and when Deano went no one would chase.
“In the end I was sixth.”
Then on “the gress” Monday?
“On the Richmond track, it’s round the cricket pitch, banked and very fast, they roll it before the event and you could just about get away with a disc.
“It’s not like a Scottish highland games track where the cows were grazing there the day before!
“I rode 81” and had to go early because my legs were still heavy from the Premier – I was half a lap up at the end!
“Richard Lambert went first and I got up to him – he ended up third with Adam Duggleby second.
“That’s my first British grass track title since my Velo Ecosse days – my third 8 K and I have two 800 metres, too.”
What’s the kit for the grass?
“48 x 16 with ‘cross tyres on a normal track bike; the track would have been good for carbon wheels – after all, the ‘cross guys ride them.”
Will you be riding any of the Scottish games?
“Maybe a couple, if there’s nothing else on – Blackford was on Saturday; my brother, Lewis won all four events.”
How do you motivate yourself to ride grass after a Premier?
“I like the grass, it’s how I started and there was more of a crowd there on Monday than any event I’ve raced in the UK, this year – seven to eight thousand, they reckon.”
When’s the next continental adventure?
“Not for a bit – this weekend we have the Ryedale, then the Scottish champs, the Beaumont and after that the British champs – and of course, there’s the Tour Series crits.”
June seems to be ‘crits are us.’
“They’re not a priority for me – if it’s a hard circuit then that suits me, something with a drag, like Dumfries.
“If you’re fast on the road then you should be fast in a crit – and I’m going the best I ever have.”
We’ve not seen much of Jack Bauer and Alex Blain recently.
“Jack had food poisoning and was in bed for six days – Alex had the same but maybe not quite as bad.”
When do you start your Commonwealth Games build up?
“June is very busy, so I’ll have a rest at the end of the month then ride a little track in July but it’ll be August and September before I get fully into track work.”
The Tour of Ireland has gone, does that have much of an impact?
“I didn’t know – there’s a couple of other races we can ride, so no, I don’t think it will compromise our build up.”
Are you looking forward to the Edinburgh nocturne?
“That was my last race for Plowman Craven in 2009 – I signed for Endura that night.
“And Millar won’t be there – he’ll be at the Tour!”
“It’s the right thing.”
If you had your career over – what would you change?
“I wish I’d done more road, and sooner – I rode the grass and time trials until I was 21 and it takes you a couple of years just to learn how to train for, and ride, the road.
“I was in my last year as an U23 before I gained national selection – I should have ridden for GB a couple of years earlier. My career might have taken a different path if had the right selections, earlier.”
With thanks to Evan for his team and hoping that busy June works out well for him.
Images courtesy of Evan, Endura Racing, Neil Batt (Fisher Outdoor Leisure)