Evan Oliphant (Team Raleigh) secured a superb victory in the Tour of the Reservoir Two-Day in Northumberland, winning the final stage with a late solo attack to catch his rivals off guard.
After Chris Opie (Team UK Youth) had won the first stage on Saturday, UK Youth team orders had been to preserve his lead and try to control Sundays racing.
The team were prominent throughout the 104-mile Sunday stage, showing their strength by systematically chasing down all the attacks.
The final stage returned to the established Tour of the Reservoir circuit, with a less hillier profile than Saturday, but the same windy and cold conditions. Twenty four riders abandoned overnight leaving just 120 hardy souls ready for another day of punishment in the Northumberland countryside.
The first skirmish of the day saw Sam Harrison (100%ME) attack out of the starting gate, he gained a 10 second lead before the block headwind reminded him that 102 miles off the front was probably not a good idea for today.
Even though the windy conditions made it tough to break free from the peloton, there were no shortage of volunteers to do just that. Rapha Condor JLT had not featured in the previous stage and their riders especially Richard Handley were keen to get the famous black jerseys up to the front. Handley was later rewarded for his efforts with King of the Mountains for the Sunday stage.
Peter Hawkins (IG Sigma) led an early attack that included Owain Doull and Alistair Slater (100%ME), Lachlan Norris (Raleigh), Mike Northey (Node4 Giordana) and Richard Handley (Rapha Condor JLT). The group lost some of its impetus when Owain Doull crashed out.
Behind, the mighty UK Youth squad gathered their troops at the head of the peloton and without panic slowly reeled the leaders back. This process was repeated over the next few laps with UK Youth easily able to control the race.
With two laps to go Alex Peters (Madison Genesis) was allowed to slip off the front, he took full advantage of the opportunity to show his potential by gaining a sizable advantage over the peloton. Peter Williams (IG Sigma) and Will Bjergfelt (MG Maxifuel) were the first riders to react and spent a lap bridging across to Peters.
At the bell as the race crossed Derwent Reservoir dam wall Williams and Bjergfelt had dropped Peters, but were being caught by James Williamson (Node4 Giordana) and Declan Byrne (MG Maxifuel). Rob Partridge (UK Youth) was leading the chasing group that contained all the danger men less than a minute behind.
On the final lap the four breakaway riders were caught but immediately the group split as Andy Tennant (Madison Genesis) and Rob Britton (Raleigh) went clear, isolating race leader Chris Opie.
Opie and Sportscover rider Tom Stewart aware of the danger chased down the break and caught Tennant and Britton within the last 6km. Raleigh man Evan Oliphant immediately launched an attack and went clear through the feed zone area. The wily Scot timed this attack to perfection and was able to solo to the line to collect the stage and overall win for Team Raleigh.
The UK Youth team had done a superb job for Chris Opie but the final series of attacks had isolated the Truro rider, he finished 2nd on the stage having to settle for 2nd overall. Peter Hawkins crossed the line in 3rd position, to claim 3rd overall on the weekend.
It was clearly a special win for Oliphant, who recently became a father and was securing his first Premier Calendar victory since he won the Ryedale Grand Prix in 2006.
Team Raleigh manager Eddie White celebrates with his riders.
A superbly-timed sprint gave Chris Opie (Team UK Youth) the opening round of the British Cycling Premier Calendar at the Tour of the Reservoir two-day on Saturday.
The 25 year old Truro rider took full advantage of strong support from team mates Yanto Barker, Rob Partridge and Nicolas Gustavsson, to sprint away from the lead group up towards the dam wall at Derwent Reservoir.
The day set off with a three man group striking out on the first long ascent from Blanchland to Bale Hill. The trio was led by Simon Yates (100%ME), followed by Tom Scully (Raleigh) and Mike Northey (Node4 Giordana). The 130 riders had been warned by organiser Mike Hodgson that the long tortuous climb would sort out the strongmen, and he was proved correct. To be climbed five times Bale Hill was a real stinker. On the first ascent the peloton was split across three distinct groups, by the end of lap four there were five significant groups.
Video highlights from stage one of the Tour of the Reservoir Two-Day
Early in the race Yates and Co. were joined by a group that included Andy Tennant (Madison Genesis), Ben Greenwood (Hope Factory Racing), Rob Partridge, Chris Opie and Nicolas Gustavsson (UK Youth), Peter Hawkins and James Moss (IG Sigma), Tom Stewart (Sportscover), Matt Holmes, Evan Oliphant and Rob Britton (Raleigh), and Steve Lampier (Node4 Giordana).
The whole of the Rapha Condor team had missed the break, and Madison Genesis team rider Ian Bibby was positioning himself at the front of the chasing group ready to try and bridge to the leaders.
The unsettled weather played its part in making the racing difficult, the winds were strong across the moors and the riders had to contend with hale-storms and showers.
Ian Bibby was one of the first riders to bridge across to the leaders, quickly followed by Yanto Barker (UK Youth) and Wouter Sybrandy (IG Sigma). The pace in the front group was relentless and within a few miles Bibby paid for his efforts by yo-yoing out of the back of the group. Matt Holmes and James Moss had similar problems, soon to be back with the chasers.
With one circuit of the 77 mile race left Simon Yates (100%ME) attacked the leaders. He was joined by Raleigh rider Rob Britton and together they built up a maximum lead of 22 seconds. Behind the might of the UK Youth team had taken a grip of the chase and with Yanto Barker leading, Yates and Britton would soon be reeled back in.
Into the final 2km and the chasers were closing in fast on Yates and Britton. Rob Partridge for UK Youth caught them in the final 1km and it was all set up for a sprint finish to the Dam wall.
Chris Opie launched a strong attack with 250 metres to go, followed by Yates, but Yates had put too much effort into his breakaway, having to settle for second. UK Youth completed the podium line up with Nicolas Gustavsson claiming third place.
Winner Evan Oliphant
2nd Place - Chris Opie
3rd Place - Peter Hawkins
What They Said
After stage one a jubilant Chris Opie told British Cycling: “I could cry with joy, it’s taken me years to get back up there and win again, I could do it at junior level, but it’s taken me till now at 25 to win at senior races.
"The course today was tough, that long drag up to the feed zone was horrible.
"Into the final last few km there was still a break away, including Simon Yates. But they must have stopped working, Rob Partridge attacked across to them and brought them back.
"I started my sprint at 250 metres to go and was expecting to be caught, but as I looked back I realised I’d got it.
"I probably won’t sleep tonight, but after a good massage I should be ready for tomorrows stage. We will discuss with the team tonight how we are going to race the next stage, but we will definitely be trying to win.”
Sportscover rider Tom Stewart, 23 from Doncaster, was just inches away from securing a place on the podium after a strong performance on day one of the Tour of the Reservoir.
Stewart is in his final year of a masters degree in civil and structural engineering at Sheffield University. He was in the break all day, working hard, and almost got on the podium.
“It feels really good to be riding at this level, because I’m still full time at university,” he said afterwards. “I didn’t expect to be able to stay in that leading group for so long. Now that I’ve done that I’ve set the bar really high in my own head and want to continue improving this weekend.
“My ambition is to take any opportunities I can to live and race in Europe,” added Stewart, who is part of the same South Yorkshire training group which includes Ben Swift, Graham Briggs, as well as Russell and Dean Downing.
“I’ve spent all winter training with them and as a result I felt really good in the break, although my team manager told me this morning I probably did too much work. But it was probably easier for me to carry on riding through with the rest of the break, because by doing that I didn’t have to fight to keep my position in the break.
“The climb was fine yesterday, I didn’t have any problems on it at all. It was the crosswinds over the top that caused me problems in that break. Every lap the strong riders like Simon Yates and Andy Tennant were doing serious damage in those crosswinds.
“Today I don’t anticipate being a marked man. I want to try and continue flying under the radar and I want to stick with the 100 per cent ME guys and just see what happens.”
Tour of the Reservoir - Final Overall
1 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh 07:17:09
2 Chris Opie Team UK Youth 07:17:16
3 Peter Hawkins Team IG Sigma Sport 07:17:19
4 Tom Stewart Team Sportscover 07:17:20
5 Andrew Tennant Madison Genesis 07:17:26
6 Mike Northey Node Giordana Racing 07:17:29
7 Steve Lampier Node Giordana Racing 07:17:30
8 Rob Partridge Team UK Youth 07:17:36
9 Ben Greenwood Team Hope Factory Racing 07:18:07
10 Rob Britton Team Raleigh 07:18:26
11 Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth 07:23:56
12 Pete Williams Team IG Sigma Sport 07:24:12
13 James Moss Team IG Sigma Sport 07:26:32
14 Nicholas Gustavsson Team UK Youth 07:27:06
15 Joseph Kelly 100% Me 07:28:17
16 Ian Bibby Madison Genesis 07:29:00
17 Declan Byrne MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 07:30:45
18 Perry Bowater MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 07:33:02
19 George Harper Felt Colborne Hargroves 07:33:29
20 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife Leisure Lakes Bikes.com 07:34:25
21 Shem Rodger Node Giordana Racing 07:34:51
22 Lachlan Norris Team Raleigh 07:35:00
23 James Williamson Node Giordana Racing 07:35:41
24 Liam Holohan Madison Genesis 07:35:46
25 William Bjergfelt MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 07:35:49
26 Gary Hand Herbalife Leisure Lakes Bikes.com 07:36:05
27 Tom Murray Metaltek Knights of Old 07:38:59
28 Alex Peters Madison Genesis 07:40:04
29 Alistair Slater 100% Me 07:40:21
30 Richard Handley Rapha Condor JLT 07:41:22
31 Tom Barras Wheelbase Altura MGD 07:43:26
32 Jonathan Dibben 100% Me 07:43:29
Tour of the Reservoir Stage 1
1 Chris Opie Team UK Youth 02:55:00
2 Simon Yates 100% Me 02:55:01
3 Nikolas Gustavsson Team UK Youth 02:55:02
4 Tom Stewart Team Sportscover 02:55:02
5 Peter Hawkins Team IG Sigma Sport 02:55:02
6 Mike Northey Node Giordana Racing 02:55:03
7 Andrew Tennant Madison Genesis 02:55:03
8 Rob Partridge Team UK Youth 02:55:04
9 Rob Britton Team Raleigh 02:55:04
10 Steve Lampier Node Giordana Racing 02:55:05
11 Ben Greenwood Team Hope Factory Racing 02:55:06
12 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh 02:55:06
13 Yanto Barker Team UK Youth 02:55:16
14 Wouter Sybrandy Team IG Sigma Sport 02:55:24
15 James Moss Team IG Sigma Sport 03:00:20
16 Pete Williams Team IG Sigma Sport 03:01:04
17 Ian Bibby Madison Genesis 03:01:07
18 Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth 03:01:08
19 Matthew Holmes Team Raleigh 03:01:15
20 Nathan Edmondson Node Giordana Racing 03:01:16
21 George Atkins Team USM Elite 03:01:34
22 Perry Bowater MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 03:02:30
23 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife Leisure Lakes Bikes.com 03:05:12
24 Joseph Kelly 100% Me 03:05:13
25 Andy Magnier Node Giordana Racing 03:05:19
26 Thomas Scully Team Raleigh 03:05:44
27 Matthew Clarke Halesowen AC&C 03:06:51
28 Gary Hand Herbalife Leisure Lakes Bikes.com 03:06:52
29 Andrew Coupe Wheelbase Altura MGD 03:06:54
30 Ryan Mullen Team IG Sigma Sport 03:06:55
31 James Sharp Team Hope Factory Racing 03:08:06
32 Kit Gilham Metaltek Knights of Old 03:08:07
33 Tom Murray Metaltek Knights of Old 03:08:07
34 Tom Stockdale Europe Powered By Ru Training 03:08:08
35 Declan Byrne MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 03:08:11
36 Dan Barry Node Giordana Racing 03:08:15
37 Ian Wilkinson Team UK Youth 03:08:16
38 Alistair Rutherford Wheelbase Altura MGD 03:08:16
39 Shem Rodger Node Giordana Racing 03:08:21
40 George Harper Felt Colborne Hargroves 03:11:11
41 Michael Cuming Rapha Condor JLT 03:12:26
42 David Lines MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 03:12:33
43 Michael Ashurst Biketreks Racing Academy 03:12:33
44 Matt Cronshaw Team IG Sigma Sport 03:12:34
45 George Pym Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals RT 03:12:34
46 Joseph Perrett Team IG Sigma Sport 03:12:34
47 Colin Parry Spin Rotor Primal C-Originals RT 03:12:34
48 Jack Pullar Madison Genesis 03:12:34
49 Tom Barras Wheelbase Altura MGD 03:12:34
50 Joe Moses Team Sportscover 03:12:34
51 Alex Peters Madison Genesis 03:12:34
52 Samuel Lowe 100% Me 03:12:35
53 William Bjergfelt MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 03:12:35
54 Jonathan Dibben 100% Me 03:12:35
55 Harry Godding PMR @ Toachim House 03:12:35
56 Rob Ward Felt Colborne Hargroves 03:12:35
57 Andrew Roache Isle of Man Cycling Association 03:12:35
58 Owain Doull 100% Me 03:12:35
59 Chris Sheriffs Team Leap Frog 03:12:35
60 Ryan Bevis NFTO 03:12:35
Tour of the Reservoir Stage 2
1 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh 04:22:03
2 Chris Opie Team UK Youth 04:22:16
3 Peter Hawkins Team IG Sigma Sport 04:22:17
4 George Harper Felt Colborne Hargroves 04:22:18
5 Tom Stewart Team Sportscover 04:22:18
6 Lachlan Norris Team Raleigh 04:22:20
7 Andrew Tennant Madison Genesis 04:22:23
8 Steve Lampier Node Giordana Racing 04:22:25
9 Mike Northey Node Giordana Racing 04:22:26
10 Rob Partridge Team UK Youth 04:22:32
11 Declan Byrne MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 04:22:34
12 Marcin Bialoblocki Team UK Youth 04:22:48
13 Liam Holohan Madison Genesis 04:22:55
14 Ben Greenwood Team Hope Factory Racing 04:23:01
15 James Williamson Node Giordana Racing 04:23:01
16 Joseph Kelly 100% Me 04:23:04
17 Pete Williams Team IG Sigma Sport 04:23:08
18 William Bjergfelt MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 04:23:14
19 Rob Britton Team Raleigh 04:23:22
20 James Moss Team IG Sigma Sport 04:26:12
21 Shem Rodger Node Giordana Racing 04:26:30
22 Alex Peters Madison Genesis 04:27:30
23 Alistair Slater 100% Me 04:27:46
24 Ian Bibby Madison Genesis 04:27:53
25 Richard Handley Rapha Condor JLT 04:28:44
26 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife Leisure Lakes Bikes.com 04:29:13
27 Gary Hand Herbalife Leisure Lakes Bikes.com 04:29:13
28 Perry Bowater MG Maxifuel Pro Cycling 04:30:52
29 Tom Murray Metaltek Knights of Old 04:30:52
30 Tom Barras Wheelbase Altura MGD 04:30:52
31 Jonathan Dibben 100% Me 04:30:54
32 Nikolas Gustavsson Team UK Youth 04:32:04
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