From Down Under to the Top
To say that Rachel Neylan was born to be a professional athlete is not cliché, nor is it stretching the truth. Born in Sydney, Australia, Rachel exceled at running track, primarily the hurdles, and then turned to rowing in 2005. She also bought her first road bike in the same year to use for cross training. In 2007 Rachel put her Physiotherapy degree to work by becoming a Sports Physiotherapist for the Australian National Rowing Team where she got a taste of National Team involvement. That’s when Rachel decided that she preferred to be a professional athlete rather than part of the support staff. It was then that she set her sights on cycling.
By 2011 Rachel had become a professional cyclist with the help and support of the South Australian Sports Institute. Fast forward just a year and this dedicated, talented, and extremely focused Aussie won a silver medal at the 2012 UCI World Road Race Championships in the Netherlands. Not long after her stellar showing at Worlds, Rachel signed a new contract with a UCI Team, that will give her the support and backing she needs to reach her short- and long-term racing goals.
A girl as fast and as busy as Rachel is hard to pin down, but Cycling Illustrated.com was able to get a moment with Australia’s newest cycling star and here’s what she had to say:
What have you been up to since finishing second at World Championships?
Relaxing with family and friends, media commitments, thanking my supporters and sponsors and now I’m already back in to pre-season training!
The World’s race was an exciting one and a great result. Tell us about your training and race schedule leading up to World Championships.
I had done an altitude training block in July, then in the month of August and beginning of September I had some solid race days in Belgium and France. Ardeche was my final race which proved to be very good preparation. The final two weeks was just fine-tuning and recovery.
Tell us about your new team and your role on the team.
Hitec Products (http://www.hitecproducts-uck.no/) is a Norwegian UCI team: Humble, stable, organic, and progressive. I will have large support role from Elisa Longo Borghini in the climbing races and Chloe Hosking in the flat races. However, with the depth in the team there will be opportunity all round.
Do you know any of your new teammates well?
Not really, but I am quite excited. I did meet most of the Norwegian girls in Belgium this year and they are absolutely lovely. Of course, very happy to be racing with fellow Aussie, Chloe Hosking.
What races will you focus on for 2013?
In the early season I am aiming to perform at the Aussie Nationals in January, and then focus on Binda, Fleche, and Flanders for the spring. Following that the Giro will be a key target, then the Spanish races, the Plouay World Cup, and of course Worlds in Toscana!
Where do you see the biggest room for improvement in your own racing and what is your game plan to improve on it?
Skills, tactics, and race intuition. More skills work in training, and ultimately more race days is key. Just getting more race situations in the memory bank.
Where do you call home now and what is the training like in the area?
Good question. My real home is Sydney but I don’t train there for obvious reasons. Adealide is my training home in Australia and it’s perfect. Beautiful climbs and rolling hills among wine and fruit growing areas around the city hinterland. In Europe I call Lucca, in Toscana home. The region speaks from itself.
You’ve made it clear that Rio 2016 is your ultimate goal in the short term. What goals do you have after that and even into your retirement from professional cycling?
Yes, no firm plans post Rio at this stage. I am always developing relationships and experience for my post athletic life in some way. I have a few career ambitions largely directed towards the integration of sport and health industries.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not riding your bike?
Quality time with friends and family, yoga, cooking, drinking good coffee, and writing informative health blogs for health.com.au
Is there anyone you want to give a shout out to for their continued support of your racing?
Of course! All my partners (sponsors). Go check them out at www.rachelneylan.com.