“I believe I can be as good as any pro; what sets people apart is attitude and belief”

Posted on: February 2nd, 2013

After taking national sprint titles on the track, Lydia Boylan is full of confidence for the year ahead on the road

After taking national sprint titles on the track, Lydia Boylan is full of confidence for the year ahead on the road


By Caroline Martinez

Best placed Irish rider in last year’s An Post Rás na mBan, Lydia Boylan has secured a contract with new British-based elite set-up Team CTC.

The squad will compete in six high profile international UCI races, the UK National Women’s individual and team road race series, whilst also taking part in the Smithfield and Newport nocturne criteriums in the UK.

Dubliner Boylan finished 4th in the National Road Championships last year and has twice been Irish sprint champion on the track.

Despite her rapid progress she is still relatively new to the scene. She recalls her humble beginnings at the time when her first ever win was lanterne rouge prize on the London Women’s League shortly after she moved to the UK in 2010.

“I’ve always been very competitive which is why I enjoy sports,” she said.

“I’m not sure what exactly spurred me on. I was totally rubbish at first. I usually hate coming last but something about cycling made me want to stick at it, to get better.”

“Maybe it was the very steep learning curve and each time out on the bike I would notice improvements. Then when I eventually managed to be fit enough to stay on the back of a bunch the whole world of race tactics was opened up to me.”

Boylan was a competitive sailor before she started cycling. And she had to spend a lot of time on the bike in order to transform her body into a cycling winning machine.

“It took over a year for my body to adjust and get used to doing long rides and just being on a bike. As I did more and more training my body totally adjusted. I no longer have the upper body strength I once had when I was hoisting sailing on a 35ft yacht.”

The 26-year-old’s enthusiasm for her new team is hard to hide. Team CTC will be riding N7even team bikes along with kit from Madison and high spec Giro shoes.

“The biggest difference is having sponsors and what that allows us to do,” she says.

“Racing is damn expensive in the UK, there’s lots of travelling involved and support needed at big races. So having that support and knowing that you’ll always have a team around you is great. And I think they have put a great team together. I’m really excited about this season’s racing.”

“And a big benefit for me is the chance to travel to bigger races on the Continent. This is the experience I need to improve as a cyclist. Racing in the UK is very competitive but I think racing in Belgium, Holland, France etc will be another big jump up.”

Team CTC is not a professional team in the sense that the riders all have a full time jobs but it is a fully supported amateur women’s race team.

The elite level set-up means that they will be invited to race UCI sanctioned races on the Continent. The fact that Boylan will still be working full time as a structural engineer as well as dealing with the demand of training doesn’t dampen her ambitions, quite the opposite in fact.

“I’ve always believed that what sets people apart is their mental attitude and how much they believe in themselves. I wouldn’t have got this far in cycling without believing I could be that good. Now my belief is that I can be as good as any pro; with the right effort of course. Lots and lots of training and race experience (is) needed. But I can do that, and I’m on the right path with Team CTC. I have to believe I can do that otherwise what is the point? And who knows, maybe Rio 2016 could be on the cards. We must dream, otherwise it won’t happen.”

“(This year) is all about progression for me. I’m not necessarily looking for race results. I just want to be better by the end of the year than I am now. That means pushing harder than I ever have before.”

She has even hinted that she would love to participate in the 2014 Commonwealth Games for Northern Ireland for which she could qualify through her Derry born mother.
For now though, all her focus will be on the road, in the UK and on the Continent, and the national road championships.

“I’ll hopefully fit in a few events on the track in the UK but my focus this year will definitely be on the road with the hopes of being good enough to be considered for selection for the World Championships. I like to set myself big goals.”