PLOWMAN CRAVEN CRASH OUT IN USA

Plowman Craven team 2008

Plowman Craven-Evans were brought crashing down to earth on the final day of the Redlands Classic in the United States.

Going into the last of the four stages, Simon Richardson was placed 26th overall, a little over two minutes back.

But early on there was a bad crash and five of the six PCA riders went down - Alex Higham, Tom Barras, Richardson, Neil Coleman and Simon Gaywood.

Only Evan Oliphant stayed upright. Of the fallers, only Higham managed to stay in the race, the others abandoned.

Oliphant made the front group of around 20 riders but punctured on the closing laps of the circuit. He took a wheel from the neutral service bike but the timing of his flat couldn't have been worse - at the top of a long, technical descent. He had little chance of getting back on.

Team manager Garry Beckett said: "It was disappointing the Plowman Craven riders were not up there on GV at the end but they can take solace in the fact the Redlands organisers were impressed with their performance and aggressive style of racing.

"On the plus side there are no serious injuries to any of the lads - although I wish I could say the same of some of the equipment."

Rock Racing's Santiago Botero won the Redlands Classic overall. Oliphant was 71st, Higham 88th of the 89 finishers from a field of nearly 200.

Next for PCA is the Garrett Lamire criterium in Ojai, California, on Sunday.

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.