A memorable hat-trick lies in store for Neah Evans should she once again end up on the podium at this week’s World Track Cycling Championships.
Aberdeenshire rider Evans has already picked up Olympic and European medals this year. Taking on the best and winning is not a new habit.
The most recent came a fortnight ago, as Evans followed up a bronze in the elimination race at the Euros in Switzerland with a gold medal-winning performance alongside long-time friend Katie Archibald in the madison.
Her summer saw her compete at the delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, where she was part of the Team GB team pursuit squad which claimed silver behind Germany.
It is the team pursuit and the madison which is in her sights in Roubaix, northern France, when racing gets underway on Wednesday.
“It would make it a very good year,” said Evans. “It’s going to be an interesting World Championships because of where it sits; some of us had more time off after the Olympics and some other nations’ riders haven’t had any time off at all.
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“A lot of nations will have approached it really differently. It’s going to be interesting to see how it unfolds and I think it’s going to be quite unpredictable.
“It’s always a relief to find out you’ve been selected for the madison, because it’s such a competitive spot. It’s not often you get two competitions of a high standard in quick succession, so it’ll be interesting to see if that works or doesn’t work.
“The Euros gave us confidence. We’ve watched the video and seen things we can improve, so it’s nice to have that quick turnaround and try to action those points.”
Evans took silver in last year’s World Championships in the team pursuit and she is also a five-time European champion, as well as a double Commonwealth Games medalist.
At some point the focus will switch from British Cycling to Team Scotland, given the Commonwealths in Birmingham next year, while decisions will have to be about whether Evans competes in more events before the end of the year or focuses on getting training miles in instead.
“I’m going to do a three-day event in Copenhagen in November, which is going to be a bit more relaxed,” said Evans. “There’s this UCI Champions League that’s taking place; at the moment I’ve not got the invitation to do it but, if the worlds goes well, I could.
“I need to weigh it up. Next year’s major target is the Commonwealth Games so I need to start planning back – what do I need to improve and where do I need to be.
“While I want to go and race as much as possible, I’m also aware I’ve lost a lot of fitness since the Olympics, so I need to get that back. That probably means lots of hours on the road.
“It’s a fine balance about what’s more important at this time of year and unfortunately, I think winter miles will be more important.”
After her exertions at the Olympics over the summer, Evans had a small break, which she spent on a training camp in Spain.
But any time on the track post-Tokyo had been negligible so preparations for the event in Grenchen, Switzerland, were not ideal.
“We had a bit of time off – I went to Sierra Nevada – and then it was discussed that because the worlds had been put back a week, we could both (worlds and Euros),” she added. “I said I wanted to, but – initially – as a team, we weren’t going to do the team pursuit and just focus on bunch racing.
“Normally I like to do some other racing before I go to the Euros, so it felt a little bit rushed and under-prepared. But I was delighted with the results.
“There’s definitely room for improvement, but I was always going to say that. I didn’t have wonderful preparation going into it, but I’m more hopeful for the worlds, having had this one hit out.”