Boylan on the pressure of being champ and her Irish pride

Posted on: December 26th, 2016

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Lydia Boylan had another excellent season in 2016, defending her national road race title in style as well as riding a brilliant An Post Rás na mBan where she finished runner-up. The latter was courtesy of a gruelling summit finish ride atop Mount Leinster (Photo: Sean Rowe)

 

By Brian Canty

National road race champion for the second year in-a-row, Lydia Boylan has set herself some big targets for 2017, including the UCI World Track Championships as well as the European and world road race championships.

“Winning the road title was one of the highlights of 2016,” she said of taking the Irish crown again in Co Kildare in June in a sprint from a small group.

“I was never confident of ever winning the road title, let alone doing it twice. So I’m a tiny bit scared to defend it again in 2017.”

The Team WNT rider is part of a star-studded UK-based team again for the coming year.

The squad includes the likes of Team GB pursuit gold medallist Katie Archibald and British national crit champion Eileen Roe, as well as fellow Irish rider Josie Knight.

It’s going to be a hectic 12 months again for Boylan, but she’s not complaining.

“I’m extremely lucky that Team WNT support me through both road and track,” she said.

“My first big target is the track Worlds in Hong Kong in April, hopefully in the omnium event.

 

Lydia Boylan said she was never confident of winning the elite road crown, let alone two in a row. And she’s still nervous about defending it next year, though it’s that lack of complacency that helps make her the rider she is. Above, in Rás na mBan in September (Photo with thanks to Lorraine O’Sullivan)

 

“I may need to do a few events before then to guarantee qualification but I really enjoyed the new format at the Europeans and recent World Cups.

“It’s all quite exciting on the track at the moment,” she added.

As soon as her track schedule is over it’s straight to the road she’ll go; to a packed schedule from the end of April onwards.

“The team have pulled together a seriously strong squad,” she said of the Team WNT line-up for the coming season.

“It’s definitely going to be a good year. For me, as I’m quite a well-rounded rider, I’m hoping to have a good mix of crits, one-day races and stage races in my schedule.

“We have some amazing sprinters so I’m sure I’ll be helping them out in the Tour Series and then hopefully targeting some UCI results for myself later on in the year.”

Speaking of later in the year; An Post Rás na mBan is in her list of priorities. It is a race she finished runner-up in for the second time in her career this year.

“I’m very proud of that result. It definitely could have been a lot worse. Can I go better? Who knows.

“I’ve raced the Rás four times now and it’s an amazing platform for Irish riders to showcase their talents and I think I’ve achieved that each time I’ve raced it.

“Our team were so strong and I was proud to show off my national champs jersey at my biggest home race.”

Little wonder she wants to do it again in 2017.

 

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