Lothians cyclist Evan Oliphant and his former training partner James McCallum will have differing roles to play for their respective teams when the Aviva Tour of Britain gets under way in Wales tomorrow.
Oliphant lines up for Team Raleigh in the 178 kilometre opening stage from Beaumaris to Wrexham. He will be performing a support role in the eight-day event which concludes in London next Sunday. However, he will be given a free rein to challenge for individual success on Wednesday’s fourth stage from Edinburgh to Blyth.
The race has continued to grow since returning to the racing calendar in 2004. That is reflected by the quality of the field of 120 representing 20 teams.
The impressive start sheet features leading Britons Sir Bradley Wiggins, riding for the team bearing his own name and Mark Cavendish, who will compete in the colours of Etixx Quick-Step and lock horns with German sprint rival Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), who won four stages at this year’s Tour de France.
Meanwhile, McCallum has recently taken on the dual role of coach and sporting director at Team One Pro. Formed only in December 2014, the team is a project for former cricketer Matt Prior, who has ambitions to compete in major events including the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.
Capital-based McCallum is well known for his motivational skills and has also developed a solid reputation as a coach since retiring from competitive cycling after last summer’s Commonwealth Games.
He will be looking to inspire a team that includes Welshman Yanto Barker who will be out to make a mark on his home roads tomorrow.
The Scots in the field are Oliphant, Andy Fenn of Team Sky and Tao Geoghegan Hart, who will compete for the Great Britain national team.