Oliphant wins his 3rd edition!
When Team Raleigh’s Evan Oliphant signed on in Girvan this morning, few would have bet against him to take the win. However, who would have predicted it would be after a 14 man sprint up South Park Avenue after 81miles of racing including six categorised climbs?
Oliphant was as pleased as he was relieved after just pipping Herbalife – LeisureLakesBikes .com’s Andrew Hawdon, with Scott McCrossan in third. Ironically, despite the reputation of the event for its tough parcours, Oliphant cited his experience of racing crits as the factor behind the win. “I knew from racing the evening criterium in the Girvan 3 Day that whoever led round the last corner would not win – it is too far out. I held on as late as possible.”
The 48th edition of the David Bell Memorial kicked off at 11am with a ceremonial lap of Victory Park before the peloton rolled out of Girvan onto the main coast road and the racing commenced. The event was the climax of the Ayrshire Alps Cycling Festival, promoted by Ayr Roads CC and supported by South Ayrshire Council.
A number of riders tried to get clear on the run down to Lendalfoot, including Mark Stewart of ASL360. All were shut down by Oliphant who explained he didn’t want a break to get away before the climb of Carleton in case it led to a long chase. Coming at just 7 miles, the steep opening pitches of Carleton forced a split in the group as 15 riders lost contact. Oliphant and Team IG Sigma Sport’s Ben Greenwood summited first, but with over 70 miles to race decided not to press the advantage.
The second prime of the day at the Screws saw Oliphant take maximum points again ahead of Hawdon and Greenwood. Under a deluge of rain, David Lines made a daring solo bid, gaining more than 30 seconds on the bunch when the race passed through Girvan for the first of four laps of a touch fourteen mile circuit around the Byne and Tormitchel. Oliphant secured his victory in the King of the Mountains with a top three finish on the first passage of the Byne.
A lap later and Lines advantage had been cut to less that 15 seconds. A block headwind climbing the Byne neutralised attacks from the pack behind, but also made for a lonely race for out front. Paisley Velo’s Peter Murdoch bridged over to Lines on the third run through Girvan, and the two managed to extend their lead to maximum 58 seconds.
But come the bell lap it was all back together, with everyone expecting fireworks on the last lap. Realising their best chance lay in a setting up a sprint finish for Hawdon, Herbalife – Leisure Lakes Bikes.com neutralised the digs on the final passage of the Byne and it was a group of 14 that entered Girvan for the finishing circuit of Victory Park. A late move by two riders caused some brief nerves in the group, but on the final bend it was grouppo compacto and the assembled crowd were treated to a nail-biting sprint finish.
Twenty-eight riders in total completed the 48th edition of the race run under ever-changing weather conditions and over the challenging hill roads of the Ayrshire Alps cycle park area.
Andrew Sinclair of South Carrick Community Leisure was on-hand to present the winners with their trophies, and gifts from event sponsors William Grant’s & Sons.
Race winner Evan Oliphant thanked the organisers and community for another great race, and remarked ‘just one more’, referring to the wins he needs in the event to match David Millar’s record of four.
“It was a hard race. I average 275 watts over the event, which is higher than I have been doing in the Premier Calendars, but at the same time the course clearly wasn’t as hard as everyone was suggesting as that was a straight sprint at the end. I can’t remember the last time I contested a sprint like that to settle a Scottish race.”
When asked about his three victories, Oliphant joked “I shouldn’t have let (then teammate) Ross Creber win in 2009 or i’d have done it already!” Oliphant lines up for the Tour of Britain next month, and will be targetting stage wins.
Runner up Andrew Hawdon explained there was some confusion in his team as to the finishing position, catching up lead out man Martin Ford. “This was definitely one of the races I was targeting this season. Its been a successful day for the team, but i’m obviously disappointed to have been beaten by such a small margin”.
The race was the climax of the Ayrshire Alps Cycling Festival, a weekend of cycling promoted by Ayr Roads Cycling Club. As well as the Davie Bell the club promoted the Highwayman Audax over 200km and 100km, and the SCCL Youth Criteriums.
|2||Andrew||Hawdon||Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com||same time|
|3||Scott||McCrossan||Rock to Roll Cycles Ltd||same time|
|4||Ben||Greenwood||Team IG Sigma Sport||same time|
|5||Martin||Ford||Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com||same time|
|6||Alastair||McCauley||Phoenix CC||same time|
|7||Andrew||Whitehall||Equipe Velo Ecosse/ Montpelliers||same time|
|8||Bradley||Stokes||Pedal Power RT||same time|
|9||Stuart||McCluskey||www. Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk||same time|
|10||Steven||Lawley||TheBicycleWorks .com||same time|
|11||Collin||Humphrey||Achieve – Skinnergate Racing||same time|
|12||Jamie||Kennedy||Paisley Velo Race Team||same time|
|13||Mark||Stewart||Team ASL360||same time|
|14||Alex||Coutts||Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com||same time|
|15||Gary||Jeffers||East Tyrone Cycling Club||at 6:17|
|16||Peter||Murdoch||Paisley Velo Race Team||at 7:08|
|17||Richard||McDonald||Equipe Velo Ecosse/ Montpelliers||at 7:45|
|18||Greig||Brown||www. Dooleys-Cycles.co.uk||same time|
|20||David||Lines||MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling||at 7:53|
|21||Ian||Taylor||Ciclocostablanca .com||at 9:23|
|22||Sean||Gordon||Team Thomsons Cycles||at 11:07|
|24||Daniel||McShane||Glasgow Road Club||at 11:21|
|25||Stephen||Russell||East Kilbride Road Club||at 11:27|
|26||Gary||Hand||Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes .com||same time|
|27||Keith||Laird||Team Thomsons Cycles||at 15:55|
|28||Chris||Smart||Paisley Velo Race Team||at 18:37|
|Savoy Park Under 23|
|Scott||McCrossan||Rock to Roll Cycles Ltd|
|Digital My Way King of the Mountains|
|First 3rd Cat|
|Sean||Gordon||Team Thomsons Cycles|