What's Cool In Road Cycling

Ireland07: Inside With Evan

The 1980’s were heady days for Irish cycling, there was Stephen Roche, Sean Kelly and – the Nissan Tour of Ireland. Unfortunately, no one has come-along to replace Roche and Kelly, but the Tour of Ireland is back. Wednesday’s first stage of 174 kilometres, from Kilkenny to Cork saw a break of ten, representing nine of the 16 teams present, go clear to take 10 minutes, with Unibet’s Stijn Vandenberg taking the stage and the jersey.

PEZ is following the race from the inside, riding along with team DFL’s Evan Oliphant. Here’s how the day looked for him…

CSC’s Marcus Ljungqvist leads the break over Patrick Hill enroute to a routing of the bunch and elimination of all but his breakmates from gc competition.

Pez: Is the race over?
Evan: For the GC it is, Unibet had two in the break so it looks good for them.

Pez: How did the break take so much time?
Evan: There was a lot of attacking early-on but nothing stuck. It was just luck really that it went the way it did, there had been other attacks which seemed like good combinations, but they just didn’t go. CSC only had one of their young guys in the break (Marcus Ljungkvist) and initially they chased, but then, for some reason, they stopped. There was a lull, no one else would take-up the chase and the gap just zoomed-out.

Pez: So, what’s DFL’s game plan now?
Evan: We had hoped to get Daniel Lloyd or Hamish Haynes into a good GC position, but that’s gone-now. It’ll have to be chasing a stage win. Dan was upset that he missed the break, he tried to get-up, but didn’t make it.

Pez’s man in the thick of the action, is DFL’s Scotsman, Evan Oliphant.

Pez: How’s your form?
Evan: I haven’t really raced since the end of June, with the team being Pro Continental it means that there aren’t that many races you can ride. I had a break in July, that was always planned and then I was in Majorca for a training camp. I made the first break today, at 15 kilometres, I thought maybe I could get up the road and take the first two sprints so I could take the sprints jersey. But it went crazy right after that and I was brought back; my team mates were moaning at me for stirring it up, they were saying that it was fine and easy before I jumped-away.

Pez: What’s the race organisation like?
Evan: It’s good, we’re in a five star hotel and even the bottles of mineral water on the table have ‘Tour of Ireland labels. The crowds have been great too, at the start, finish and all the towns along the way.

Pez: What was Saint Patrick’s Hill in Cork like?
Evan: I’d heard a lot about it, but I thought; “it can’t be that bad”, then we came round the corner on the finishing circuit and I got a shock – it’s steep, 25% at some parts. Even though the peloton wasn’t going hard, there were still a lot of guys dropped on it.

Pez: What’s the plan for stage two?
Evan: We haven’t had the team meet yet, but it’s the hardest day tomorrow, so it’ll, be pretty-much “every man for himself”.

I’m glad I just make the phone call and don’t have ride; Evan will be describing the carnage to us after tomorrow’s stage.

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