Tuesday, October 26, 2021
HomeInterviewsNeah Evans - European Team Pursuit Champion

Neah Evans – European Team Pursuit Champion

"I still feel a sense of pride riding for Great Britain and getting to do it as European Champion just magnifies this."


If you check the palmarès websites, Neah Evans‘ name first pops up in 2015 – just four years later and she’s performing at world level in ladies’ track cycling as part of the GB ladies team pursuit squad; with her most recent successes coming in the European Team Pursuit Championships and Glasgow World Cup where her squad took gold on both occasions.

High time we had a word…

Tell us about your Tour of Scotland experience please, Neah.

“It was my one and only road race this season.

“The weather on the first day unfortunately caused it to be abandoned before anything really started to kick off.

“The second stage was a disappointment for me, I was targeting the sprints.

“Although I won the first sprint, I then totally over-relaxed on the climb, not wanting to over-exert myself and I found myself in a small group which had been distanced.

“This is where lack of racing cost me and rather than bridging over I waited for us to join the main bunch – which never happened.

“I then had about 100 km to realise what an idiot I had been.”

The inaugural Tour of Scotland experienced very mixed weather conditions – gorgeous, as here on Stage 2 on the Duke’s Pass, and horrendous on the cancelled Stage 1 and Stage 3, when Neah Evans crashed. Photo©Martin Williamson

And you came down on the last stage?

“Yes, it was a tad damp again on the final stage and I was caught up in one of the crashes – I managed a lovely somersault over the ‘bars!

“I wasn’t very happy by this point but managed to stay at the front of the race, I think I finished in the top 20 in this stage and I was just beginning to figure out road racing again.

“Overall I was pleased with my form but my lack of road racing really showed.

“It was a very well organised event and it was a pleasure to race on home roads despite the tricky weather conditions.”

And the London Six Day, which you and Katie Archibald won…

“This is always a lot of fun and this year was no different, although the Friday night didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked.

“Racing the Madison with Katie really was a blast.

“The format was slightly different than before, aligning slightly more to the men’s racing.

“This meant we won the overall team victory rather than individual placings.

“It will be interesting to see how the format evolves over time.”

Winners Great Britain’s Katie Archibald and Neah Evans (left) celebrate on the podium during day six of the Six Day at Lee Valley VeloPark, London. Photo©Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

Riding in the Glasgow World Cup must have been special?

“It’s such a cliché to say but for me riding at Glasgow is always very special especially at this level of event.

“It’s where it all started for me.

“I love riding in front of big crowds and especially with such an electric atmosphere that we had at Glasgow.”

It must be nice to pull on those European Team Pursuit Champion skinsuits?

“I still feel a sense of pride riding for Great Britain and getting to do it as European Champion just magnifies this.

“Definitely helps my ‘race-day lift’.”

European Team Pursuit
Great Britain’s Neah Evans (left), with Laura Kenny, Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald celebrate taking Gold on the podium during day two of the 2018 European Championships at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow. Photo©John Walton/PA Wire

In Team Pursuit qualifying do you ride to a schedule – how is it set?

“Yes, pretty much; in training we will do a few shorter efforts around what we think is achievable and discuss from there.

“We finalise on race day what we want our coach, Paul Manning to ‘walk.’

“We don’t always stick to it but it’s a good starting point.”

The team produced a 4:12 ride – that’s quick; world record is 4:10, that must be a goal?

“Absolutely, but there will be a lot of other teams with a similar one, I suspect.”

A lot of other nations are raising their game in the event – is that because the Olympics are coming up?

“Probably, for us it’s what we have our sights on… I imagine other nations will be in the same position.

“It’s quite fun because you’re starting to see new equipment used in racing, which definitely helps raise the standard.”

The Omnium at Glasgow; a win in the Tempo event but a crash in the Points Race, what happened – and was the podium possible?

“It wasn’t a great night for me.

“I went into the Points believing I could achieve a podium.

“Unfortunately my front wheel was taken out by someone dropping down and there was nothing I could do.

“I bashed my knee up pretty badly and just tried to survive but my race was ruined…

“I couldn’t sprint as hard as normal and I couldn’t get enough of a gap to go for a lap.

“It was so frustrating to not be in the mix due to crash, I had good form but that didn’t matter after the crash.”

Great Britain’s Katie Archibald and Neah Evans exchange during a Madison on day five of the London Six Day. Photo©Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

Will the Omnium and Team Pursuit be your events at The Worlds?

“I would love that but we will make selection nearer the event.

“As a squad we have huge strength in depth which means selection is tricky.

“It’s a double edge sword; it’s hard to make the cut but if you do then you know you’re going well…”

Isn’t it difficult to train for the Team Pursuit and the Omnium, given the endurance element in the latter?

“As a squad we focus mainly on Team Pursuit; I hadn’t done any specific training for the Omnium in Glasgow and just used the Six Day as a ‘hit out’.”

How do you handle the constant competitiveness within the team – everyone will want to go to Tokyo?

“It is tricky, we are all super-competitive and very driven – else we would have never made it this far.

“Personally, I just keep my head down and do my training.

“I have to trust that the selection is based on picking the strongest squad, so my focus is on being as strong as I can be.”

European Team Pursuit
Neah Evans and team mates in their European Team Pursuit Champions colours. Photo©BBC Sport

Does management tell you what they require from you to get to the Worlds and/or Tokyo?

“Yes, we are given targets of where they would like us to be in terms of training numbers but they are only targets and are constantly evolving…

So, for example, if I become a lot more aerodynamic then the required power will drop.”

Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia World Cups coming up, which will you be riding and in what events?

“None of those; we are in a big training block at the moment and I’m currently in Spain on a training camp, coming back before Christmas.”

Neah Evans on the podium at the European Championships Photo©British Cycling

Have you ridden one of the new ‘Bat Bikes‘ yet – they look radical.

“Not yet, I am not the tallest of people and so far there hasn’t been a small enough one for me to try…

“I’m very much looking forward to trying one – I’ve heard lots of good reviews!”

What’s on the Neah ‘to do’ list for 2020?

“The Olympics. Everything else is afterthought or to help prepare for Tokyo.

“I’ve never experienced an Olympic cycle before and I’m really looking forward to all the camps and the whole build-up.

“Getting selection will be hard so I don’t want to try and do other things which may deflect from this.

“If I don’t make it then I’ll turn to the road and especially time trialling – after a bit of a disaster at the national TT I would like to try and remedy that.”

VeloVeritas wishes Neah every success in achieving her goal of Olympic selection.

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.

Related Articles

John Archibald – “My Games Pursuit was a Dream Ride”

‘The best Commonwealth Games performance ever by the Scottish cycling team’ – that’s for sure. VeloVeritas hopes to speak to all of the athletes concerned and we’re proud to start with individual pursuit silver medallist, John Archibald.

Grant Ferguson – British Cyclo-Cross Champion 2018

He may be best known as a cross country MTB man but on a course at Hetton Lyons Country Park, Sunderland which included a little of everything, not so far from his Peebles home in the Scottish Borders,  24 year-old Grant Ferguson ran away with the British Elite Cyclo-Cross championships. Beating into second place the man mostly closely associated with the title in recent years, five times champion, Ian Field. The look on Field's face reflected the fact that a British champion's jersey is worth around 1,000 Euros in start money in any big continental 'cross.

Scottish Riders in Le Tour de France

With le Grande Boucle set to depart on Saturday June 26th from Brittany – which shares Celtic culture with Scotland - we thought we should have a look at the Scottish riders who have participated in the biggest race on the planet, over the years.

Kyle Gordon – National 50 Mile TT Champion, Despite Crashing!

Kyle Gordon was fourth in the CTT 10 Mile Championship and fifth in the CTT 25 Mile Championship but made no mistakes – well, except for crashing that is - in the 50 Mile Championship held on a far from ‘float’ course in the north east of England near Cramlington.

Katie Archibald – individual pursuit was the highest of highs for me

VeloVeritas has already spoken to brother John about his men’s individual pursuit silver medal and now it’s time to hear what sister Katie has to say about her Games campaign where there was women’s individual pursuit gold in a Games record, points race silver behind Wales’ Elinor Barker and rides in the women’s scratch – where she finished fourth behind Amy Cure of Australia – and on the road in time trial and road race.

“The Flying Scotsman” by Graeme Obree-Putting the Record Straight

Let me first say this is firstly a review of the Graeme Obree autobiography, the book - not the film - "The Flying Scotsman", and also my version of the events at the world cycling championships in Sicily in 1994. I was the Great Britain team mechanic for those championships, but Mr. Obree didn't remember to mention this fact in his book. You could call this the bitter out-pouring of a man scorned, but rather it's just my memory of what happened.

At Random

Postcards from the Orica GreenEdge Team Car

Our pal Craig Geater works as a mechanic for the Orica GreenEDGE team, and is putting in the hard shifts at the Tour de France. Like everyone involved in the race, he's very busy, but when he has his iPad or phone in hand he's been taking a moment or two to snap some images, and fire them over to us.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 3; Granville – Angers. Cavendish by an inch!

After a gruesomely boring stage where one man – albeit latterly assisted by Tommy V – held off the pack for 200 K it was another day of joy for Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish; just too quick for Greipel, Coquard and Sagan on a slightly uphill finish into Angers. Kittel looked to be well placed at the red kite but got it wrong on the final right hander to finish well out of it. Greipel reckoned maybe he was one cog too high in the finish on 54 x 11 – Cav’s choice of gear was just fine though.

Tom Copeland – An Introduction

Here at VeloVeritas, we encourage you to submit your race results and stories to us, and young Tom Copeland recently did just that.

World U23 Road Race Championship 2011 – A Young Braveheart in the Medals

Braveheart rider Andy Fenn took an excellent bronze medal in the World U23 Road Race Championship 2011 on a windy but dry day in the northern suburbs of Copenhagen. The French team proved best motivated and organised with a dazzling one-two. Let's hope that Arnaud Demare doesn't go the way of so many French amateur and U23 champions in the past - big hype, big contract then a gradual slide in to obscurity.

Stuart Balfour – World Road Championships Breakaway Driver

Perhaps it was the ‘Scottish’ weather at Harrogate which made the Scots perform so well at the recent World Road Championships? Stuart Balfour spent much of his u23 Championship ‘up the road’ to help set up GB team leader, Tom Pidcock for his eventual bronze medal; Balfour finished in 39th spot.

Tour of Britain 2006 – Stage 1, Glasgow to Castle Douglas

The Tour of Britain 2006 kicked-off in Glasgow on Tuesday morning with a 101.1 mile haul from Glasgow to Castle Douglas. Last year Evan Oliphant (Recycling) grabbed an excellent second place on a stage behind Russian champion Sergei Ivanov (T-Mobile). This year he'll be talking to VeloVeritas every day after the stage, we caught-up with him before the stage whilst he was stocking-up on victuals for the stage and receiving a light massage.