Oliphant Down Under: Commonwealth Games 2

Son of Scotland Evan Oliphant is in Melbourne racing the Commonwealth Games, and finds time between events to bring us up to date on the action… I got to wave my Scotland flag on Sunday when the Commonwealth Games track programme concluded with the 80 lap scratch, but unfortunately not for our boy Evan; ‘I went almost from the gun but was brought back, just as the group I was in came back another attack went…”

James [Scotland team mate James McCallum] was there and so was Cav [Mark Cavendish, Isle of Man, current world Madison champion with Bob Hayles] plus there was an Aussie [Ashley Hutchinson, eventual second] and a Kiwi [Timothy Gudsell, eventual fourth], so that was that.

“The Isle of Man and England teams were working for Cav [more about that in a minute] and with the Aussies and Kiwis having guys in the break there was nothing going to happen until the finish; we just rode round. At the finish I gave James a lead-out and he got the bronze, he’s absolutely delighted, I finished seventh.”

Cavendish meanwhile enjoyed a massive lead-out from Madison partner Bob Hayles and had no problem disposing of the young Australian Hutchinson to take victory. The fact that Hayles rides for England and Cavendish rides for Isle of Man didn’t escape the judges either so ‘Big Bob’ was duly declassed but Cav kept his gold.

McCallum, whose best ride prior to this was probably his silver medal in the British omnium championship two years ago took Scotland’s medal tally to four bronzes, one silver and – a GOLD.

Prior to the scratch race the Scots trio of Chris Hoy, Ross Edgar and Craig McLean had disposed of England’s Jamie Staff, Jason Queally and young Matt Crampton in the team sprint final.

A scintillating 44.265 by Scotland in the qualifying was almost matched by their final-winning time of 44.282 but England ran them close with Crampton looking much better than he had in qualifying; improving from 44.564 to 44.309.

The mighty home team of Ryan Bailey, Shane Kelly and Shane Perkins could no better than the bronze.

Edgar has been a revelation with bronze in the Keirin, silver in the sprint and gold in the team sprint, it’s just a pity he doesn’t have a good Scottish accent like Chris and Craig.

Evan meanwhile has to re-focus on the road after his couple of days on the boards; ‘I plan to do four hours on Tuesday and Thursday, then ride the course again on Saturday, it’s open for a couple of hours then; I feel good so we’ll see what happens.’

Next-up is the time trial on Tuesday; the last Games saw an Aussie clean-sweep but defending champion Cadel Evans [Lotto] and his runner-up Michael Rogers [T-Mobile] have moved-on to greater things, however third place Nathan O’Neill [Health Net] will be back.

He was fifth in the time trial in the recent Tour of California, just behind George Hincapie [Discovery] and ahead of Fabian Cancellara [CSC] – a result that speaks for itself.

We hope to talk to Scotland’s Duncan Urquhart immediately after the race, talk to you then.