Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Dylan Westley – Developing as a Rider and a Person with Equipo Lizarte

"I hope to be racing at a level that will allow me to be selected for the Baby Giro or Giro Valle D’Aosta races."

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Dylan Westley
Dylan Westley.

Stepping up from the Junior ranks to compete in the u23 category is a big deal for any young rider, but to combine it with moving to a new team as well as living away from home in a different country takes courage and a rock-solid belief in your ability – qualities talented 18-year-old Yorkshireman Dylan Westley has in spades.

Easing the transition somewhat is the fact that Westley’s new team is the famous Spanish outfit from the Basque region, Equipo Lizarte – renowned for not only supplying a great many riders to pro squads over the years but also for taking great care of the riders in their charge.

51 riders from the team have reached the professional level in the 27 years team owner Manolo Azcona has run things, among them Joseba Beloki (three times podium in the Tour de France) and Isidro Nozal (2nd in the Tour of Spain), Ricardo Otxoa (who rode for Kelme), Andrey Amador (turned pro for Caisse d’Epargne, recently rode for Movistar and may yet be seen in Ineos colours), Dayer Quintana, Richard Carapaz (winner of last year’s Giro d’Italia), Héctor Carretero and Marc Soler (all Movistar).

With such a rich history behind the team and wealth of experience in the staff and personnel to draw upon, young Westley’s move is certainly exciting and filled with potential.

Our interest in Westley was piqued when we received a press release from Equipo Lizarte’s PR Manager, Fran Reyes (listeners of The Cycling Podcast will be familiar with Fran and his effervescent love of the sport) and we got in touch to find out more…

Dylan Westley
The Equipo Lizarte team for 2020 – how many of these riders will move to the World Tour? Photo©supplied

You’re racing with Equipo Lizarte this year, a very famous team with a great tradition in producing and developing talent… you must be excited?

“Yes, I’m very excited for the season ahead with Equipo Lizarte in what will be a big step up for me.

“I know that racing in Spain with this team is the best environment for me because I love the Spanish style of racing and it suits my characteristics as a rider the best with lots of climbing both long and short.

“It’ll be a new experience for me racing with no other British riders for the first time but everyone in Equipo Lizarte has been extremely friendly; at the Team Camp I attended before the Team Presentation last month they all made me feel very comfortable.”

You took a win on Stage Two of the Junior Vuelta a Pamplona last August, did that (and a strong showing in the race the year before) help clinch a place on Equipo Lizarte?

“I think that my stage win in the Vuelta a Pamplona helped a great deal in me gaining a place with Equipo Lizarte for this season, because it showed that I suit the Spanish style of racing well.

“On that stage I attacked with around 20km to go with another rider and gained on the peloton over the next few climbs and descents before being caught by a small group in the final couple of kilometres. I still won the sprint from the group to take the win which I think also showed quite a few different abilities as a rider.

“I had expressed interest in joining Equipo Lizarte even before winning the stage in Pamplona and I believe that this also helped in me gaining a place with them because it was clear that I wanted to be a part of this famous team.

“Through emailing the team I was put in contact with Fran Reyes [Equipo Lizarte Communications Manager, ed.] who really helped me better understand the team ethos and the processes I needed to do next.”

Dylan Westley
Dylan Westley won Stage Two of last year’s Vuelta a Pamplona. Photo©Martin Early

Will you be living in Pamplona where the team is based?  What’s the arrangement?

“Yes, I go out to Pamplona at the end of February and will be living in the team apartment.

“I’m very grateful for this as it makes my living arrangements very straightforward and I don’t have to worry about getting to races since I’lll be living less than five minutes away from the Team’s Service Course.

“I will be living with two other riders also, both from the Kern-Pharma Team (which is a Continental Team for the 2020 season and is part of the Lizarte family).”

How’s your Spanish?

“I’ve been working on improving my Spanish on the computer ever since I found out that I would be racing and living in Spain, back at the end of September.

“I learnt Spanish at school to GCSE level for which I am now very grateful as I already had a good knowledge of basic Spanish. The only time I have really tested my Spanish was at the Team Camp and Presentation last month, which was quite overwhelming to start with but by the end of the week I was a lot more confident during conversations and I came away pretty pleased with my progress.

“I’m sure that there will be times this year when I struggle but I hope to learn quickly when I’m living in Spain and I’m looking forward to experiencing this new culture.”

Tell us about the support you’ve had from the team so far…

“The whole team have been extremely friendly and inclusive with me, from the riders to the staff everyone made me feel welcome which I have been extremely grateful for as it has made the process of preparing to move to a new country much easier.

“I have a coach provided for me which has helped me to have, I believe, my best winter of training so far.

“The team apartment is also a big part of the support for the season – it really has made life much as I’m not having to look for accommodation myself.”