Neah Perfection

Neah Perfection


Neah Evans took her first world title on the final day of the 2022 UCI Track World Championships, as all five Scots in action for GB return home with silverware.

Evans has a plethora of international medals, but at Olympic, World and Commonwealth Games level she was yet to get her hands on a gold, and hear the national anthem played, but Sunday 16th October 2022 was the day all that changed.

Lining up in the Points Race, Evans was one of the names being touted as a potential medallist, but she faced tough competition from the likes of defending champion Lotte Kopecky of Belgium amongst others.

Evans wasted no time in making her intentions clear though, winning the first of the ten sprints during the 100 lap contest, to top the leader board. This is where she would remain until past halfway, when Denmark’s Julie Leth would take a lap and it was game on. Not long later and an elite group, containing the Aberdeenshire native, would also gain a lap, but as they tried to recover from their efforts Leth would go again, and eventually make the junction, picking up 10 valuable sprints points along the way to elevate herself into the medal positions.

Although running on fumes, just like her rivals after an extremely aggressive race, Evans had just enough in reserve to take third in each of the final two sprints, the final run to the line worth double points, as well as taking another lap in the process, to clinch gold.

“It’s not really sunk in yet but I’m delighted! I had good legs and had a really good game plan going in, so I felt confident, but the first lap went and I was then chasing a bit, but then we all got it and I was like, ‘right, we’re back in control, this is alright’ but then Julie went again and I was like ‘oh dear’!

“I knew I still had good legs but she got such a gap so quickly, so it was difficult to get people to work with me. They rang the bell and I wasn’t sure if it was the last one, as we’d gained the lap, so I just kept going – it wasn’t quite the magical moment you dream of but it doesn’t matter!”

On the prospect of defending her world title on home soil at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, Evans added:

“I’ve thought a lot about the World Championships and I’m very excited; it’s a track I like to ride on, it’s a home crowd, so going in as defending champion will be pretty cool!”

On the first day of action, Evans combined with long-time teammate Katie Archibald, returning to action after a torrid year, making it safely through the rounds to eventually win a brilliant silver medal.

Also in action on day one were our sprint stars Lauren Bell, Ali Fielding and Jack Carlin, that trio contesting the Women’s and Men’s Team Sprints respectively, both squads stepping up when it mattered most to bag bronze medals.

For Bell it was a real coming-of-age, as she led off a young, inexperienced women’s trio with poise and confidence, none more so than in that bronze medal show down. For women’s sprinting in the UK it was a big step forward, an unexpected medal giving them lots to shout about.

Of her first World Championship, Bell said:

“It’s been such a blur, but it’s starting to sink in, what we’ve done and I’m just so proud of the whole team and support team – it’s been great.”

Carlin and Fielding are a much more established Team Sprint outfit, alongside Hamish Turnbull, however Carlin is still learning the ropes at man three. Despite not being right at the top of his game, having struggled since a big crash at the European Championships, Carlin ensured the good work of his teammates wouldn’t go to waste, a great final lap securing the medal they so wanted.

When asked how it felt, Ali summed it up:

“Nice”, followed by laugher from his teammates, before expanding, “Hopefully that’s the first of many for this team and we’ll see what the next couple of years bring for this team now.”

“That was my first man three in a proper velodrome and it hurt a lot more than I thought it was going to, to be honest with you, but it was good. These two boys have really stepped up today, so we’re pretty proud of that performance and it was a good day for GB.”