Lydia Boylan: Silver medal win still sinking in for cyclist

‘It just feels so special. It is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people’

Days after landing the biggest result of her career when she took track world championship silver medal in the women's points race, Lydia Boylan is still absorbing the significance of what she did.

“Even after a few days it still feels so crazy,” she told The Irish Times this week. “It just feels so special to have so many videos and pictures of everyone I was able to share this medal with. It just feels so special. It is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.”

Boylan was one of two Irish medal winners at the world championships in Pruszkow, Poland. Last Friday Mark Downey took bronze in the men's points race. Two days later, Boylan grabbed silver in the women's event. She put in a superb performance and finished just one point behind the winner, Alexandra Manly of Australia.

The two results were Ireland’s first non-paracycling medal since Martyn Irvine’s silver medal in the scratch race at the 2014 worlds. Irvine had won the men’s scratch race one year before that, and was part of the Irish team’s support structure in Poland.

Career direction

Boylan’s success is due to a lot of hard work, but also thanks to a decision to change her career direction. She previously mixed road and track, taking three Irish national road race titles and also winning a stage in the 2017 Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. However, last year she decided to focus primarily on track racing with a view to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“It just gives me a lot more freedom to make my own decisions,” she explained. “To be able to make my own plans. It makes sure I’m doing all the right preparations for the track.”

Boylan has a new target in mind, but will use the competitive lull after the worlds to recharge her batteries. “My next big goal will be track at the European Games at the end of June,” she said. “For now, I’m taking some time off the bike. I’m be catching up with friends, taking a nice beach holiday with my Mum. Then after that my coach and I will sit down and do all my planning for the next season.”

In other news, Nicolas Roche will return to competition in the Strade Bianche one-day race on Saturday. He will then ride Tirreno-Adriatico, the Milan-San Remo Classic and the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali with his Team Sunweb squad.

“I am happy to be back racing,” he told The Irish Times, speaking about the end of a training block. “I need to get back into it. It’s been a while without a good racing block, so I hope to get form quick.”

He said that he will be supporting the Dutchmen Sam Oomen and Tom Dumoulin in, respectively, Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico, but may also get some freedom in the latter. “And hopefully in Coppi Bartali I will have a go for myself.”

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling