PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : Movistar’18: Rachel Neylan Gets PEZ’d

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Movistar’18: Rachel Neylan Gets PEZ’d
Rider Interview: The very successful Spanish Movistar team announced that they would be have a women's squad for the 2018 season. One of their most experienced signings for next year is Australia’s Rachel Neylan from Orica-Scott. Ed Hood caught up with Rachel as she gets ready for a big season with her new team.

Leek - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Neylan Rachel (Australia / Orica AIS) pictured during stage 4b of the Energiewacht Tour 2016 - cyclingrace for women from Leek to Leek ITT Time Trial Indivudual - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2016
2016 Energiewacht Tour time trial

Despite coming late to the sport at 25 years-of-age, Australia’s Rachel Neylan has forged solid palmarès and recently it was announced she’d be joining the new Movistar ladies team for season 2018. She first appears on the palmarés radars in 2009 with top 10 finishes in the Ladies’ Tour of New Zealand, Australian time trial championship and Oceania time trial championship.

Winsum - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Neylan Rachel (Australia / Orica AIS) pictured during stage 2 of the Energiewacht Tour 2016 - cyclingrace for women from Winsum to Winsum - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2016

In 2010 there was another top 10 in the Aussie time trial champs and fourth in the road race champs with a solid GC top 10 in the Tour Feminine en Limousin. The following season riding for Diadora-Past Zara there was another top 10 in the Ladies’ Tour of New Zealand. Season 2012 was a strong one in the colours of ABUS Nutrixxion with podiums in her native road race championships, the Oceania road race champs and a silver medal in the Worlds road race. For 2013 Hi-Tech was the name on the jersey and top ten in her national road champs was her best result. The 2014 season saw fifth on GC in the Trophee d’Or Feminin as her best showing.

Halden - Norway - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Neylan Rachel (Australia / Orica Scott) pictured during stage-4 from Svinesund to Halden of the Ladies Tour of Norway - women - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2017
2017 Tour of Norway

Orica was ‘home’ for the next three seasons with 2105 seeing her second in her national road race championship, top 10 in the ladies’ Tour of New Zealand and top 20 in the Worlds but with the hi-lite a stage and GC win in the Trophee d’Or Feminin. Last year there were podiums in her national road championship and Cadel Evan’s Ocean Race and a fine win in the GP Plumelec-Morbihan and a ride in the Rio Olympics. This year saw a GC top 10 in the Tour Feminin Internationale de L’Ardeche and close second place in single day Erpe-Mere UCI 1.2 in Belgium.

Arrasate - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Rachel Neylan Orica AIS (AUS) pictured during stage 1 of the Euskal Emakumeen Bira 2015 (2.1) from Arrasate to Arrasate - women - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2015

Next season sees her in the blue and green of Movistar; here’s what she had to say to PEZ, recently. . .

PEZ: Initially you were a rower - you competed and then were a physio, tell us about that, please.
Rachel Neylan:
I was actually a runner from the age of eight starting out in little athletics.
It was my first love where I learned discipline work ethic and the art of perseverance. I was not naturally ‘talented' but so dedicated and passionate about my sport. Ultimately with hurdling it's a speed and power based discipline, I was barking up the wrong tree. I graduated as a physio in 2004 and had a sports physio career in Sydney until 2008. I took up rowing just for a year in 2005 when I began the journey to attempt to find a ‘better match’ and put full energy into pursuing my dream.

Apeldoorn - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Loes Gunnewijk, Rachel Neylan, Kirsten Wild, Tatiana Antoshina, Lucinda Brand pictured during the Ronde van Gelderland 2012, a womens cyclingrace over 140 km with start and finish in Apeldoorn - foto Anton Vos/Cor Vos ©2012
Leading the peloton in the 2012 Ronde van Gelderland

PEZ: And you came late to cycling, what brought you on board and do ever wish you'd started earlier?
Yes, at the age of 25 I realized I was on the wrong side of the fence. I was a physio to World champion and Olympic athletes, but all I wanted was to be one. In 2007 I acknowledged this and embarked on a mission to search for a pathway into a sport outside athletics. I don't think I would have survived my rapid progression if I wasn't a physio, I had great knowledge in sports performance I could use from the earliest days in my career. Also I had wonderful relationships from my professional career and from athletics which all had influence on my life changing decision. All my worlds collided but in a magic way so I couldn't wish to have started earlier!

Huy - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Rachel Neylan (Team Hitec Products) pictured during Flèche Wallone - Waalse Pijl 2013 for elite women - photo HR/Cor Vos © 2013
2013 Flèche Wallone

PEZ: Diadora, Italian; Abus, German; Hitec, Norwegian; Orica, Australian - tell us about the different mentalities of the squads you've ridden for, please.
Obviously each team brings a variety of cultural perspectives which has been a huge gift. It's been fun to make friends and gain insight into German Italian Norwegian (and now Spanish) cultures by being on home owned teams. Each have allowed me to learn, grow and become a better athlete at different points in my career. Sport is also about people and relationships, how one chooses to value and nurture these I think is so important.

Hoei - Belgie - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Fleche Wallone - Waalse Pijl 2010 - Rachel Neylan - foto Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos ©2010

PEZ: Second in the highly rated Erpe-Mere, this year, any 'what ifs' on that result?
Yes, in fact I was winning until 50m to go (it was an uphill drag!) I was channelling my inner Caleb and trying to stay low and aero so didn't look up, I saw a line and thought that was it, pulled up my sprint early. Rookie, rookie error, I will never forgive myself for that!

Plouay - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Rachel Neylan, Pascale Jeuland pictured during the La Coupe du Monde Féminine ? Le GP de Plouay 2013 - Bretagne - women - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2013
2013 GP Plouay

PEZ: Bergen - were you happy with your ride after all the hassle you had with your federation to get there?
Yes, I felt fantastic in Bergen. From limited race days in the season I was happy with my final form.
I did my job well getting in the break, was pretty devastated to get crashed out but in the end Kat’s silver medal was the most important outcome and an amazing feeling to be part of!

Bergen - Norway - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Pieters Amy (Netherlands / Boels Dolmans) - Barnes Hannah (Great Britain / Canyon SRAM) - Neylan Rachel (Australia / Orica Scott) pictured during the roadrace 2017 World Road Championship womens cyclingrace on September 23, 2017 in Bergen, Norway -photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017
2017 Worlds in Bergen

PEZ: Sum up your 2017 season for us, please.
Great. I overcame a lot to arrive on two UCI podiums and in the Green & Gold national strip in Bergen.
A summation of small victories, a journey perhaps nobody would ever realize, I'm super proud of what I did with sound perspective of where I was in March!

PEZ: Movistar for 2018 - how did that come about?
I met Jorge Sanz in 2014 in Spain when he was DS for Lioentek. We connected well and I admired his long term vision. When the project was announced I contacted him to learn more about Movistar Women's team. Our philosophies and objectives aligned and the rest is history!

Halden - Norway - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Van Dijk Ellen (Netherlands / Sunweb) - Neylan Rachel (Australia / Orica Scott) pictured during stage-4 from Svinesund to Halden of the Ladies Tour of Norway - women - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2017
On Ellen van Dijk's wheel in the Tour of Norway

PEZ: What's your favorite kind of race?
Relentless races of attrition, long races with climbing repetition or circuit races with a climb.

PEZ: Will you still be based in Tuscany for 2018?
Yes! It's home in Europe for me.

Arrasate - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Neylan Rachel (Orica AIS (AUS) - Brand Lucinda of Rabobank Liv Women Cycling Team - Gillow Shara of Rabobank Liv Women Cycling Team pictured during stage 1 of the Euskal Emakumeen Bira 2015 (2.1) from Arrasate to Arrasate - women - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2015
Racing in Spain at the 2015 Euskal Emakumeen Bira

PEZ: That 'hot potato' in ladies' cycling - money/salaries; what are your thoughts on how that should work?
The catalyst for change lies in staging world class events and global TV race exposure. Sponsors are then more attracted to invest and the money flows into the sport.

PEZ: You made a good point a while back - Agents aren't interested in representing girls because the salaries aren't big enough - is that still the case and what would you do to remedy that?
Generally yes but I guess that was a broad statement a while back, there’s more money coming into the sport now so this is changing. Having agents is only a small piece of the puzzle.

Schleiz - Germany - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Neylan Rachel (Australia / Orica AIS) pictured during stage 6 of the Thuringen - Rundfahrt for women Rund um Schleiz - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2016
2016 Rund um Schleiz

PEZ: When does your winter prep start?
Now! I'm doing a week as an ambassador for the Amy Gillett FOUNDATION Share the Road TOUR from the Gold Coast to Sunday to kick off the kilometers!

Hoei - Belgie - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Fleche Wallone - Waalse Pijl 2010 - Rachel Neylan - foto Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos ©2010
2010 Flèche Wallone

PEZ: Will you be riding the Aussie Champs in January and have you an idea of how your program will look for 2018?
Yes, Can't wait to race in Buninyong again! Yes, we are working on refining my program now. Jorge and the team have done an amazing job in getting a nice program in their first year!

PEZ: What's still "TO DO" for Rachel?
Win a World Tour race! An Olympic medal!

# With thanks to Rachel and David Garcia at Movistar for organizing this interview. #

Valkenburg - Vilt - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Rachel Neylan - Marianne Vos - Elisa Longo Borghini pictured during the Worldchampionships road race for women elite - foto Anton Vos/Cor Vos ©2012
2012 Worlds podium - Neylan, Vos and Longo-Borgini




It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he's covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,500 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself - many years and kilograms ago - and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.

 

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