Repeating his 2013 victory, Evan Oliphant won the 104-mile second stage of the Tour of the Reservoir in Northumberland on Sunday.
Oliphant, 32, edged out Jon Mould (NFTO Pro Cycling) after eight laps of a testing circuit around Derwent Reservoir, with team-mate Ian Wilkinson sprinting home for third place ahead of Russell Downing (NFTO).
Oliphant, the reigning Elite Series champion, proved strongest on the run-in to win from Mould, with Wilkinson taking the sprint for third place seven seconds later by the tightest of margins over Russell Downing. Stage 1 winner Alex Peters and Peter Hawkins crossed the line two seconds later.
“Everyone seemed to have their hands on the tops of the bars, so I decided to have a go,” said Oliphant. “I was just spinning the big gear out and the elastic snapped. The race is two weeks earlier than last season, I don’t start to fire before the end of April so I’m pleased with that result.”
Watch the video highlights from British Cycling here:
Oliphant’s team mate Yanto Barker finished 3rd overall in the two-day event, consolidating the 3rd place finish in Stage 1. Talking to Velo UK after stage 1 Yanto said: “That break went before the prime on the first lap and Madison were strong from the start and I think they knew what they could do so they had three guys there, and they were all strong. Alex , fair play to him, started attacking right from the bottom of the climb and you could tell everyone was cooked.
“It was bloody hard work out there today. Even when you were on the wheel you were kind of not on the wheel as you were getting buffeted by the wind. We all had a good dig in the finale. Moses was leading Briggsy out on the run in but something happened to Graham. Tom pulled Alex back to within five seconds but we were all smashed.
“Bizarrely, our group was probably the easiest one to be in with us all pulling even turns at the front. There was no one missing turns, it was smooth and there was always a wheel to go on. It is all to play for tomorrow though because if the wind is like today, its going to be hard even though Madison are strong.
“This is one of the hardest races because its so early and you still have form to come but there is no shelter out there. I am quite satisfied with the ride. I had good preparation at the start of the year. A difficult February but I’m glad because I feel I am on it and where I want to be.”
The team head onto Paris now for the UCI 1.1 Paris-Camembert one-day race on Tuesday.
Read more about the Tour of the Reservoir here: