We left our Tour of Britain ‘catch up’ with Evan Oliphant until after the British track champs, on the off chance that he might break the BC/Sky/100% ME grip on affairs – fat chance.
Back to the Tour of Britain, Evan Oliphant – stage five?
“The first hour was full on, it went out of the blocks. It was a good day for us because we had Iker Camaño away in the break which Frapporti won out of; and apart from Richey Porte going for it on the last KoM it wasn’t that bad.”
“Columbia were riding for Albasini all day; we expected it to go mental in the cross winds but it didn’t happen.
“Partridge had a mechanical but that was our only awkward moment.
“It was actually the first day that I felt good in the race.”
“That was the flat stage to Colchester but there was an uphill finish, again Columbia were working for Albasini.
“We were working to get Jack Bauer and Alex Blain up there – they both made the top ten.”
“We had a little bit of a panic, the guy who was lying ninth behind Rob Partridge jumped away for an intermediate sprint – there was a three second bonus and he was just three seconds back on GC.
“But we spotted the danger and got him back before the sprint.”
What’s it like going from a tough stage race straight to the track?
“The T of B finished on Saturday afternoon and I was back in Scotland by early Sunday morning.
“I guess it would have made more sense to take my track stuff to the Tour with me but there’s just so much to transport.
“I was on the track for Tuesday night, really to get me used to the track for the Games.
“The main difference is leg speed; in fact, I rode a wee bit higher than usual gear at Manchester.”
You rode the scratch?
“I was seventh, I was in a break with Kennaugh, we had 3/4 of a lap and he jumped across the gap, the others in the break wouldn’t help and up in the bunch Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard nailed it once Kennaugh was on.”
“James McCallum didn’t ride, he wasn’t feeling the best and when I saw a group of 12 riders having a meeting before the start, I thought; ‘there’s not much chance here !’
“I went for a death or glory lap gain but didn’t quite make it – Ian Stannard was nailing it at the front for five or six laps when I was trying to get on.
“Once I saw that I wasn’t going to make it, I climbed off – I was lying second at the time – and so did Stannard!
“Riding Manchester wasn’t really about results, it was about getting ready for Delhi.”
What’s happening about the Games ?
“I leave on Thursday [today, 30th September], that was always the plan.
“The Scottish Games Council say that if when we get there the village isn’t up to scratch then we’ll be given alternative accommodation.
“But the Welsh have said that it looks OK.
“Kennaugh, Stannard and Thomas have all called off – Sky have said that it’s the athlete’s decision but I think it’s because the team doesn’t want then to go down with anything nasty.
“The wet season has come early and there’s a lot of stagnant water which is a breeding ground for disease.
“I’ll be riding the scratch and points; I don’t anticipate that the Games 20 K will be as hard as the British one – we did 20 K in 22 minutes.
“I’ll also ride the road race, it’s pan flat – and the time trial which is the last event, so I’ve nothing to lose.”
VeloVeritas will be keeping in touch with Evan and James during the Games – watch out for the interviews.