Talkingshop: Scotland’s Evan Oliphant


2013 will be Evan Oliphant’s 8th Tour of Britain and the Raleigh rider is looking to better the second place he had on a stage in 2005!

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If you’re going to do a preview of a stage, who better to talk to but a rider who lives half an hour away from the departe, Scotland’s Evan Oliphant. He originally hails from Wick up near John O ’Groats but has lived in Edinburgh since he started university quite a few years ago now.


Evan, with a history on the track, didn’t get onto the road until his twenties and in 2004 rode the very first Tour of Britain before he’d even ridden a Premier Calendar road race! “That was a bit of a jump up for me but I got round although I think it’s a lot harder now than it was back then.”

In 2005, Evan rode again, for Scotland, and was second on a stage which remains his best result so far in the race. In all, Evan has ridden seven Tours of Britain’s, the most of any other rider along with Kristian House. Asked how the race has changed over the years he says smiling, “they keep sneaking an extra day on it! When it started, it was four days with a crit and time trial.”

“It’s got a lot longer and it’s got a much bigger profile with live TV this year every day which it didn’t have in 2004. The race is now a big target for all the big UK teams and we’re getting riders like Cav and Wiggins. It’s getting massive.”


2005 and stage 4 – Evan was second.

After seven Tours, asked if he gets nervous, he replies “you do a bit but you do get to know the way it goes and what to expect. Looking back, I think it was crazy to jump straight in without having done a stage race before.”

“This year, I’m nervous about the time trial in three days time because of the time cut. If Wiggins does an 18, then it’s going to need us to do a 21 which will be hard work. Sometimes you can use the time trial as a rest day if you’re not up there on GC and cruise round but we won’t be doing that here.”

Asked for a highlight from his seven Tours, Evan replies “the easiest I found the race was in 2007. I spent the season with DFL in Belgium and ridden a lot of the semi classics and I came back and found it easier because I’d been racing at a higher level.”

“I remember we were riding on the front for Daniel Lloyd and we were doing that with the top pro teams and I was top 10 as well despite that.”


2005 and stage 1 and Evan (6th from the left) lines up in Glasgow.

Talking about the roads for the 2013 Tour of Britain, Evan says the visitors may well get a shock as to how narrow the lanes are and the constant change of direction. The roads will be quite rough as well he adds. Evan recalls the day the race came out of Glasgow on day 1 and one of the pro teams, CSC he thinks, smashed it from zero kilometre.

“They went straight away and stuck it in the gutter and 20 or so riders went up the road. I think we held them at 30 or 40 seconds for ages and I think there was a crash and everyone sat up and we lost 20 minutes.”

Evan says the start in Peebles is about as local as it gets to his house, half an hour away, and the closest race to home he’ll probably do all year. Because of that, he’s expecting his supporters to come down to cheer him on and he’d like to do something but knows being the first stage, that will be tough.

We joked about how you don’t see hedges up here because of the wind and on day 1, that and the rain says Evan, will play a big part in the race and if it’s as forecast, the race could be in bits. “The first part of the race out of Peebles is on a reasonably big road and I ride that road a lot out training and whilst I know every little rise to attack on, because it’s a wider road, it is also harder to get away on.”


“Down towards Hawick where I have raced lots of times and won the Scottish champs down there, there is a nasty climb in and out of Hawick which is the second KoM and I know that is a fair climb and goes up quite a while. It is quite exposed and if there’s a crosswind, that could potentially be where the race splits.”

Evan adds that the section before Drumlanrig Castle is also quite exposed and the damage done will depend on the direction of the wind. He’s expecting a head/crosswind for the first part of the race and then some proper crosswinds making it a long hard day out.

Evan adds that for the British riders, the extra distance may well be a factor with 30k more than normal (210) and if they’ve been nailing it trying to get in breaks, the legs will certainly notice that extra distance. The finish won’t do any tired legs any favours either with it dragging up to the castle including some cattle grids and it’s a tough finish says Evan.

In good weather, it could be a sprint if the big teams want to keep the race together until the time trial when the GC will start to take shape and Evan is hoping to get through the first few days as fresh as he can in the hope of getting in a break.

Evan says the 2013 season has been one of his best in his career in Britain. He started it in some early season races in Europe before a training camp and then took some time out as he became a father and missed a few weeks of racing to look after the baby.

He was still training though and went to the Tour of Reservoir where he won overall. “Even once I won that, I wasn’t looking at the series (Premier Calendar) and it wasn’t until I was third at Stockton where I thought,’ I could win the series’.

Now he has the next big challenge and so look out for Evan in breaks. He’s been in one that went all the way to the line and others that got to within a kilometre of the finish. One suspects that the more gritty and grippy it gets, the more the Scottish rider will shine for his team, Raleigh.

Good luck Evan and thanks for the chat on the steps overlooking the Scottish hills… It’s a tough job …




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