Cycling: Gruelling French connection in prospect for Oliphant

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Capital cyclist Evan Oliphant will launch his 2013 racing programme with a tough two-day assignment in France this weekend.

The 31-year-old is named in an eight-man squad to represent Team Raleigh at the Tour du Haut Var, a race contested over mountainous terrain inland from the Cote d’Azur. The event will offer an indication of the squad’s form following a successful warm weather training camp in Majorca. 
Tomorrow’s opener covers 153 kilometres from Le Cannet des Maures to La Croix Valmer, while Sunday’s stage is a gruelling 207-kilometre haul starting and finishing in Draguignan.

Oliphant will line up against a field that features leading riders such as former Tour de France yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler of Team Europcar and David Millar of Garmin-Sharp, who was a Scotland team mate at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.