Feature: Hill Climb Champion Dan Evans

In a pre-race poll, 60% of 300 people thought Dan Evans would win the title on the climb to Hedley on the Hill and so it proved. We talked post race to the new champion.

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Feature: Hill Climb Champion Dan Evans

In a pre-race poll, 60% of 300 people thought Dan Evans would win the title on the climb to Hedley on the Hill and so it proved. The champion in 2014 from Colwyn Bay(North Wales) broke the course record by 16 seconds or so, one of eight riders to do so, showing the quality there was fighting for the stripes.

Over recent years, Dan has not only won the title (2014) but also been second in 2015. His best result outside of that was 6th in 2013 on the Stang in North Yorkshire) whilst last year saw him 11th on Bank Road. It was no surprise then to hear his reaction as we spoke in the event’s headquarters post race.

Dan admitted he was ‘Ecstatic, really really happy’ with the title win explaining how it probably means more than the win in 2014 especially as the competition was so strong.

Prior to the race, and talking to his rivals like Adam Kenway of Raleigh GAC, Dan was certainly expected to be the one to beat on that climb. So when asked if he felt pressure pre-race, Dan replied “I would not have said there was too much pressure as such. Quite a lot of expectation but I didn’t put myself under too much pressure because there were four or five guys I thought could win it on the day”.

“Adam was the defending champion so the pressure was on him but I knew from the season I have had that I had beaten all the top guys every time I had raced them so I didn’t put too much pressure on myself but I knew it was on the cards.”

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One of the reasons Dan was the favourite was the course. His rivals knew it suited him and he admits it did. “It did suit me. Not too steep, around four minutes and anything less than that and I’d struggle as I am not as fast as some of the other guys over the short distances. If it gets too steep, I can struggle a bit as well”.

Like a few of the riders, Dan also knew the climb well have recc’d it quite a few times during the year. “I have ridden up it ten times I think. We (Jess and I) came up the last weekend in August and rode it with Ben lane the organiser and then we rode it yesterday. I had never raced it before but we had good feel for it and both Jess and I had worked out how we were going to ride it”.

With 240 riders racing the closed road, the event was certainly popular but Dan admits he wasn’t driven so much by wanting to be the best but more about not being beaten. “I just don’t want to get beaten, that is my motivation” he explained. “Joe (Clarke) beat me by one second on the Rake (Lancashire RC HC, Oct 8) which is my bogey climb but every other climb I did, 12 or 13, I won this year so it’s been a really good season.”

Dan admits though he doesn’t wish the season was any longer. “There has been a lot of dieting, a lot of commitment, racing, both days on the weekend on top of working five days a week; it has been a chaotic few months really so it’s nice to have it wrapped up especially wrapping up it up like this and I’m looking forward to having a bit of down time”.

When asked about his bike, he says “I ride a standard Cannondale Super Six Evo, SRAM Etape, pretty much a standard bike except for a single front chain ring. I’ve got some fancy Vittoria pista speed tubulars which are top notch track tyres. The bike is only five kilos and you look around you today and there are a lot of Cannondales as they are seriously light and stiff with no gimmicks or aero stuff. Just a good bike”.

Finally, when a rider is a British champion as Dan is now, there is nothing like racing in the champion’s stripes as Adam Kenway has been doing in his Primal Europe skinsuit this winter, so I asked Dan would Assos be creating a fancy set of stripes for him?

“I’d like to think so! We have had fantastic support from Assos. They have looked after us really well. They invited us to London for some events we would not normally do like the Urban Hill Climb and the kit in fairness, has a reputation for being top notch, and you can’t beat it. The skinsuit Jess and I wear is used by the Swiss team and BMC and is fast and comfy”.

“We are quite lucky, in this niche of a sport, that we ride the best bikes and best kit and it makes a difference. It helps being a privateer that we can choose the best kit and we are looked after by Cannondale and Assos and it makes a difference”.

Thanks to Dan for the chat and we look forward to seeing the stripes next Hill Climb season …




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