Repeating his 2013 victory, Evan Oliphant (Team Raleigh) won the 104-mile second stage of the Tour of the Reservoir in Northumberland on Sunday as Alex Peters (Madison Genesis) took the overall honours in the opening round of the British Cycling Elite Road Series.
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).
Fifth place went to stage one winner Peters, which was enough to secure overall victory for the 20-year-old Londoner, the 2012 National Junior Series champion, ahead of team-mate Peter Hawkins and Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) as, with all three making the final split, the podium positions remained unchanged from the opening day.
The attacks began as soon as the field rolled away from the start at Blanchland, and a five-strong group – Josh Hunt (NFTO), Mark Christian (Team Raleigh), Gruff Lewis (Pedal Heaven-Colbornes RT), Rob Partridge (Velosure-Giordana RT) and Dexter Gardias (Metaltek Cycling) – established itself at the front, opening a gap of 3-30 over the peloton as 25 miles were covered in the opening hour.
The gap was down to 2-55 by the end of the second hour, Partridge chasing back to the leaders after a puncture, before the race was stopped for around 15 minutes when Pete Williams (Haribo Beacon) went down on a high-speed descent.
Happily, Williams was able to walk into the ambulance after initial treatment, and when the race restarted, the gap to the front came down quickly with the field coming back together after 78 miles with Madison Genesis in control.
Six miles later, Tom Moses (Rapha Condor JLT) put in a strong attack which took him off the front on his own and, with 18 seconds to make up after his fifth place on day one, into the lead on the road as he got a gap of 39 seconds by the 90-mile mark.
Matthieu Boulo (Team Raleigh) gained seven seconds over the rest until puncturing, but although Moses was still clear at the bell, Oliphant and Mould were now leading the chase ahead of a 25-man group and, almost inevitably, he was caught after a fantastic effort.
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 Downing, and Peters and Hawkins crossing 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, from East Lothian. “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.”
1 Evan Oliphant (Team Raleigh) 4-53-10
2 Jon Mould (NFTO Pro Cycling) same time
3 Ian Wilkinson (Team Raleigh) at 7 sec
4 Russell Downing (NFTO Racing) st
5 Alex Peters (Madison Genesis) at 9 sec
6 Peter Hawkins (Madison Genesis)
7 Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor JLT) both st
8 Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) at 11 sec
9 Steve Lampier (Velosure-Giordana RT) at 16 sec
10 Sam Williams (NFTO Pro Cycling) at 18 sec
1 Alex Peters
2 Peter Hawkins
3 Yanto Barker