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Neah Evans – “I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve made huge leaps this year”

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It was at the Berlin Six Day a few years ago that we first saw Neah Evans in action on the boards.

She’s made a lot of progress since then and the 27 year-old was recently part of the successful GB team pursuit squad at the Manchester World Cup.

High times we ‘had a word.’

When and how did you get started in the sport, Neah?

“I used to be a hill runner but due to injuries I wasn’t able to run for a period of time so began going out on club runs with Glasgow Wheelers in 2013 to maintain fitness.

“That winter I started going along to the velodrome and did my first race in 2014.

“I started training as a track sprinter with the Scottish squad in autumn 2014, but as naturally suited as an endurance rider I made the transition in early 2016.

“I’ve been lucky to have support from Billy Bilsland Cycles who helped me with equipment which made a huge difference to my progress last year!”

What drew you to the track?

“It was warm and dry!”

You made big progress in 2017, what do you put that down to?

“I was selected onto the British Cycling Podium Programme as well as racing for Storey Racing which offered more opportunities to compete at a higher level.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve made huge leaps and bounds this year – being able to race in higher profile races has meant people have taken more notice of what I’ve been doing.”

Neah Evans
Neah in action in this year’s Tour of the Meldons hilly time trial. Photo©Martin Williamson

Please remind us of your main results this year.

“On the road: sixth in British TT and Road Champs.

“On the track: five medals at British Track Championships in January; bronze in team pursuit at Pruszkow World Cup: gold in the team pursuit at the Manchester World Cup.”

Which performance gave you most satisfaction – and why?

“As a team Manchester World Cup Gold; as an individual 2017 National TT Champs.

“Manchester was only the fourth competition I’d raced in team pursuit and it’s not been an easy event to get the hang of so to put a 4.16 on the board with such a strong group of girls at this stage in the season was been hugely rewarding.

“Within my own performance I was really satisfied with the Madison at London Six Day with Emily Nelson.

“It was only my second Madison and we controlled the race throughout, only dropping three points.”

Neah Evans
Neah rode the Berlin Six. Photo©Ed Hood

Are you full time at Manchester now and how do you enjoy the regime?

“Yes, I’ve been based just outside Manchester since February.

“It’s been very different to what I’ve been used to – working on your feet for 10 hour plus shifts, never mind nights on call!

“Not having to balance training around work has been really helpful, though I am still adapting to having so much free time.”

So your career as a vet is on ‘hold?’

“Yes, it’s on hold, although I still end up answering questions from family and friends.

“I am in the fortunate position to have a professional career as a fallback option.”

Neah Evans
Neah showing a nice relaxed position at the Scottish 10 Mile TT Championships en route to the win earlier this year. Photo©Martin Williamson

Who’s your coach – what’s the ethos?

“My current coach is Paul Manning though he works in conjunction with the team of British Cycling support staff who fill various roles.

“I haven’t worked enough with him yet to fully know his ethos but I would say he’s fairly fact- and numbers-based.”

Talk us through a typical ‘hard’ day of training.

“We’ll do a several hard days in a typical week between track, road, gym and turbo.

“The one I least enjoy is two and a half hours on the road with seated sprints in the morning and then capacity turbo efforts in the afternoon.

“This tends to be at the end of a week so will be carrying some fatigue and I just really don’t like turbo training!”

What about the UKSI bikes, how do they compare to your own bike and did those big gears take a bit of getting used to?

“They are class!

“I have encountered some issues with the sizing mainly in finding a lo pro frame small enough.

“I’m naturally fairly strong and having had a good SC coach when I was in Scotland, Paul Coyle, I’ve been able to smoothly transition onto the bigger gears.”

What’s the Scottish Cycling criteria for ladies to go to the Gold Coast?

“The track qualifying is a combination of times and results and then Road events are purely results based.

“There’s a selection document available online on Scottish Cycling’s website.”

I’m assuming you have qualified – which disciplines will you be participating in?

“I hit the criteria at British Nationals in January this year.

“What we race will come down to the selectors.

“My main focus would be the track but I would like to race the road events too.”

If you could influence the UCI’s approach to ladies’ cycling, what would you change?

“Equality is a big thing, the disparity between male and female cycling is huge, but I don’t think there is a quick fix solvable by one party.

“I’m very lucky that as a track rider my funding comes from a National Governing Body which means the funding streams are relatively stable.”

Neah Evans
Neah (right) with the ubiquitous Pete Jacques. Photo©Ed Hood

Do you have any ambitions on the road?

“At the moment my main focus is on the track but it’s good to mix it up on the road and the contrast is nice.

“It’s something I would maybe consider longer term but for now I’m focused purely on track.”

And if you could win just one race, what would it be?

“One at the Olympic Games.”

VeloVeritas wishes Neah every success on the Gold Coast in the springs.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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