Byland Eyes Defence Of Cycling World Titles In Paris

Great Britain’s Kiera Byland is prepar­ing to defend her road race and time tri­al titles at the 2018 Inter­na­tion­al Fed­er­a­tion for Ath­letes with Intel­lec­tu­al Impair­ments (INAS) Cycling World Cham­pi­onships in Paris, France, from 14 – 22 July.

The 20-year-old shocked the field in 2017 when she claimed dou­ble gold on her debut in Assen, the Netherlands.

Now Byland is head­ing to Paris with more train­ing and con­fi­dence than ever before.

To be hon­est, I would like to win. But I am just going to try my best. If I do my best and I win, I win. If I come sec­ond, I come sec­ond. If I come third, I come third. But I’m just going to try my best,” she said.

Every rid­er says they would like to win, that’s the ulti­mate aim. But a per­son­al best also.”

When Byland set out on the time tri­al – the open­ing event – last year she did so hav­ing nev­er raced on an open road. The rid­er had only ever seen it done on television.

But with the sup­port of her father, who she trains with, the young­ster even sur­prised herself:

It was very good, but it was nerve-wrack­ing because there were cars on there, dif­fer­ent sur­faces to what we’re used too – they had cob­bles as well! It was nice, even though there were side winds and obvi­ous­ly you could punc­ture as well.

There were new rid­ers that I hadn’t raced against before and obvi­ous­ly they have dif­fer­ent tech­niques that I had to adapt too. It was just a real­ly excit­ing and pos­i­tive introduction.

And every­one was real­ly excit­ed because I was new, they’d nev­er seen me race before. And I think that added to the excite­ment as well – that you have new rid­ers com­ing in.”

Hav­ing start­ed cycling when she was 12 fol­low­ing a taster ses­sion at the Man­ches­ter Velo­drome, Byland explained why she took up sport.

The rea­son I do sport is because at school, I nev­er used to have very many friends at all. So I used to make my friends though my sport. So it was good because they were inter­est­ed in the sport itself and so was I.”

Now a ful­ly fledged mem­ber of the cycling com­mu­ni­ty, Byland trains five days a week as well as on the roads with her father. Her kit is pro­vid­ed by British Cycling and she does week­ly core sta­bil­i­ty train­ing and phys­io­ther­a­py at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bolton’s Elite Ath­lete Programme.

Paris Bound

Byland also has a coach who she says inspires her to improve and win over the likes of France’s Aure­lie Min­odi­er, the for­mer world cham­pi­on who she beat to the line in Assen.

Byland will face Min­odi­er again in Paris. Time will tell if she can repeat her incred­i­ble per­for­mance, but she is look­ing for­ward to wear­ing the British jersey:

I’m real­ly excit­ed to go and com­pete and hope­ful­ly I’ll do well,” she said. I wish oth­er com­peti­tors the best as well. I’m real­ly excit­ed to rep­re­sent my country.”

The 2018INAS Cycling World Cham­pi­onships will take place as part of the INAS Euro­pean Sum­mer Games. Eight oth­er sports are on the pro­gramme, includ­ing ten­nis which will also be a World Championships.



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