Talkingshop: 1-2 for Team Raleigh in Premier Calendar


Talking with Evan Oliphant and new signing Tom Stewart who put the Raleigh name at the top of the Premier Calendar in 2013 with a 1-2 in the series

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Many will know that after having witnessed so many ‘classic’ races lost from the Premier Calendar over the last ten years, that I do feel the series has lost a lot of its prestige as British Cycling goes from a governing body with road racing at its heart to a corporate business with no soul like it used to.


One common thread among the chats I have had with riders over the years is that many don’t target the Premier Calendar overall but rather specific events in it with the flagship one being the Lincoln Grand Prix. ‘Prems’ are still the only events outside of races like the CiCLE Classic and the Tour Series crits that see all the top teams from Britain battling for the win and the publicity.

Sadly, as yet, no other road race events have come along that bring the top teams together so winning a Prem, especially when there are only six left on the calendar, is a big deal and to win the series too, is a big deal for a rider because the Star Trophy that comes with the win has a rich history of winners going back to the 50’s.


A winning start for Evan did him no harm in the series

As a series, it’s not as hard fought for as say the Tour Series but each event is a royal battleground that the rider’s faces afterwards reflect just how hard they are to do well in. At Ryedale I watched each lap the riders seemingly cruise through but afterwards, the fatigue on the faces told a different story as did the ‘names’ that didn’t get to the finish.

The rider who started the series the best and profited for that event being a two day was Scotland’s Evan Oliphant of Raleigh. Evan won the second stage and the overall and since then has been consistent enough to stay in contention for the win.

One of the riders told me that he felt at the start of the season that no one team was going to be dominant and looking at the wins in the Premier Calendar that is certainly the case. IG Sigma Sport, Node 4 Giordana, UK Youth, Madison Genesis, Raleigh and the Isle of Man all won rounds of the series with UK Youth and Raleigh scoring stage wins in the one stage race in the series at Reservoir.


Despite six weeks of little training before Reservoir, Evan was in great form, attacking solo and holding off the chasers. One of the rides of the season.

The same for the riders with different winners in each round showing that the racing at the highest level in Britain is certainly high and competitive. Talking to Evan Oliphant before the Ryedale Grand Prix, he was hoping to top and tail the series with a win especially as he’s done so well at Ryedale before with a win and a second place.

That didn’t happen but he is nevertheless pleased with the series win saying to finish on top is brilliant and tops the 3rd he had in 2008. “I didn’t really set out at the start of the season to win the Premier Calendar and even after I’d won that first round which was worth a lot of points being a two day, I didn’t think I was going to win the series” he explained.

“I just kept chipping away and we signed Tom (Stewart) and he took the lead for a bit. I certainly didn’t expect to get third at Stockton. If there was one event where I would not score highly, it was Stockton and I ended up third which put me into a good position for today (Ryedale). In Wales, I was watching who was going up the road and who could take the series off me so the team have had two approaches, one to win the series and the other to win the races.”


Thumbs up from Evan as he makes the big selection in the GP Wales.

“I have set out before to win the series in previous seasons and some times not even got on top of the podium, so to wrap up the series this year is really good. It has been one of my best seasons for a while” he added.

Evan explained how with only two riders being able to take the series off him at Ryedale, and one of those being a teammate, that took some of the pressure off and when a teammate went up the road (Mark Christian) and no-one in the break being a danger in the series, his team were happy to shut the race down.

Evan now looks forward to trying to book a spot in the Raleigh team for the Tour of Britain before preparing for a big year in Scotland and the Commonwealth Games. There he says, he’ll target the track after just missing medals in previous Games. “It’s going to be brilliant in Glasgow and the crowd will certainly spur us on”.

Tom Stewart


The rider second to Evan, Tom Stewart, started the season out riding for Sportscover/Bioracer. Coming from a MTB background and a regular on the South Yorkshire chaingang, Tom was picked up the year before by Cycle Division’s RST/Trigon racing team. Tom rode mainly national B’s but in the first Premier Calendar of this season, Tom was 4th after a 4th and 5th on the two stages.

Tom was then 11th at Lincoln, 4th in the Beaumont Trophy, 8th at Stockton, 15th in the Welsh GP before 13th at Ryedale. That is a very consistent run for a young rider with little experience racing at that level and it was no surprise that Team Raleigh signed him up halfway through year after he’d finished University in Sheffield. Speaking at the Ryedale GP, I put it to him it must feel quite surreal to finish second and to have led the series at one point.

“It is surreal” he replied. “This has been my target all year as I wanted to do well in all the Premiers so it’s not come out of nowhere but to be second overall is more than I could have asked for.”


Last year in the RST/Trigon colours for the Cycle Divsion

“The aim during the season has been to be consistent. I have not found what my true strengths are yet after testing myself in every race. I enjoyed the one in Wales up the Tumble but liked Stockton as well which was a sprint finish. I’ve just taken each race as it comes and tried to get up there in them all.”

Tom explained how the results have shown him to have moved on and upwards as an athlete and no more so than at Sheffield in his home crit. “That was a good benchmark because last year that was the hardest race I did and I suffered more in that crit last year than ever before and this year I felt good and was able to help with the team effort. It wasn’t a struggle and I was enjoying it.”

Tom says his team, Raleigh, now have a lot of races leading up to the Tour of Britain but he’s unsure whether he’ll get a spot in the six man line up. “There are fifteen riders in the team and really all of them could warrant a place on that six man squad so I’ll be going for a spot but also using the races we do to get results as well.”


Riding for Sportscover/Bioracer, Tom pictured sprinting at the Tour of Reservoir against Niklas Gustavsson of UK Youth

>> The Honours List for the Premier Calendar


Premier Calendar 2013

RACE 1 – Tour of the Reservoir

Stage 1
1. Chris Opie, UK Youth
2. Simon Yates, GB Academy
3. Niklas Gustavsson, UK Youth
4. Tom Stewart, Sportscover/Bioracer
5. Peter Hawkins, Team IG Sigma Sport
6. Mike Northey, Node 4 Giordana

Stage 2
1 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh 04:22:03
2 Chris Opie Team UK Youth 04:22:16
3 Peter Hawkins Team IG Sigma Sport 04:22:17
4 George Harper Felt Colborne Hargroves 04:22:18
5 Tom Stewart Team Sportscover/Bioracer 04:22:18

1 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh 07:17:09
2 Chris Opie Team UK Youth 07:17:16
3 Peter Hawkins Team IG Sigma Sport 07:17:19
4 Tom Stewart Team Sportscover/Bioracer 07:17:20
5 Andrew Tennant Madison Genesis 07:17:26
6 Mike Northey Node Giordana Racing 07:17:29
7 Steve Lampier Node Giordana Racing 07:17:30
8 Rob Partridge Team UK Youth 07:17:36
9 Ben Greenwood Team Hope Factory Racing 07:18:07
10 Rob Britton Team Raleigh 07:18:26

RACE 2 – Lincoln GP

1 Peter Kennaugh Team Isle of Man 03:51:14
2 Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth 15 secs
3 Lachlan Norris Team Raleigh 02:15
4 Richard Lang Team Raleigh 02:19
5 Tobyn Horton Team UK Youth st
6 Liam Holohan Madison Genesis 02:24
7 Eric Berthou Team Raleigh 02:38
8 Yanto Barker Team UK Youth 02:57
9 Richard Handley Rapha Condor JLT 03:02
10 Peter Hawkins Team IG – Sigma Sport 03:04

11. Tom Stewart, Sportscover Bioracer
15. Evan Oliphant, Raleigh
34. Mike Northey Node 4 – Giordana

RACE 3 – Beaumont Trophy

1 Dean Downing Madison Genesis
2 Dan Barry NODE4 Giordana Racing st
3 Niklas Gustavvson Team UK Youth st
4 Tom Stewart Team Raleigh st
5 Alex Peters Madison Genesis st U23
6 John Tanner Strategic Lions Cycling st
7 Yanto Barker Team UK Youth st
8 Ryan Mullen Team IG Sigma Sport st
9 Tom Barras Wheelbase Altura MGD st
10 Roman Van Uden NODE4 Giordana Racing st

11 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh st
61 Mike Northey NODE4 Giordana Racing @ 24 sec

RACE 4 – Stockton Grand Prix

1 Ian Wilkinson (Team UK Youth) 4:12:23
2 Graham Briggs (Team Raleigh)
3 Evan Oliphant (Team Raleigh)
4 Ben Stockdale (Metaltek Knights of Old)
5 Peter Williams (Team IG-Sigma Sport)
6 Harry Tanfield (Herbalife Leisure Lakes Bikes)
7 Mike Northey (Node4-Giordana)
8 Tom Stewart (Team Raleigh)
9 Tobyn Horton (Team UK Youth)
10 Simon Yates (100%ME) All @ same time

RACE 5 – Welsh Grand Prix 

1. Mike Northey, Node4 Giordana 3.52.52
2. Steve Lampier, Node 4 Giordana @ 3 secs
3. Mark Christian, Raleigh @ 22 secs
4. Richard Handley, Rapha Condor JLT @ 53
5. Rob Britton, Raleigh
6. Roman van Uden, Node4 Giordana
7. Evan Oliphant, Raleigh
8. Marcin Bialoblocki, UK Youth
9. Ian Bibby, Madison Genesis
10. Rhys Lloyd, Metaltek Knights of Old

15. Tom Stewart, Raleigh

RACE 6 – Ryedale Grand Prix 

1. Joe Perrett, IG Sigma Sport
2. Ian Bibby, Madison Genesis
3. Richard Handley, Rapha Condor JLT
4. Simon Yates, GB Academy
5. Mark Christian, Raleigh
6. Rob Partridge, UK Youth
7. Mike Cuming, Rapha Condor JLT
8. Jack Pullar, Madison Genesis
9. Hugh Carthy, Rapha Condor JLT
10. Graham Briggs, Raleigh @4.33

12. Evan Oliphant, Raleigh (Star Trophy winner)
13. Tom Stewart, Raleigh (2nd Prem Cal)
14. Mike Northey, Node4 (3rd Prem Cal)

1 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh 312
2 Tom Stewart Team Raleigh 257
3 Mike Northey Node4 – Giordana Racing 230

4 Richard Handley Rapha Condor JLT 183
5 Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth 178
6 Steve Lampier Node4 – Giordana Racing 166
7 Chris Opie Team UK Youth 146
8 Mark Christian Team Raleigh 143
Peter Hawkins Team IG – Sigma Sport 143
10 Rob Partridge Team UK Youth 130
11 Ian Bibby Madison Genesis 129
12 Simon Yates 100% ME 120
13 Graham Briggs Team Raleigh 114
14 Niklas Gustavsson Team UK Youth 111
15 Yanto Barker Team UK Youth 109
16 Lachlan Norris Team Raleigh 108
Peter Williams Team IG – Sigma Sport 108
18 Peter Kennaugh Isle of Man 100
Dean Downing Madison Genesis 100
Ian Wilkinson Team UK Youth 100
Joe Perrett Team IG – Sigma Sport 100


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