THIS time four years ago, Neah Evans was watching British Cycling prepare its rider for the Olympic Games as merely an observer.

Four years on and Evans is in the heart of these preparations, and she admits it is just as exciting, and futuristic, as one might imagine.

“There’s all these technicians who are doing work behind the scenes who we don’t normally see and then all of a sudden, they come out the woodwork in Olympic year,” she reveals.

“They’ll show us something they’ve been trying out in the wind tunnel and then decide to try it out with the riders. It’s really cool, we’ll know nothing about it and then they’ll tell us they’ve been working on it for however many years.

“I remember before Rio, they brought out this new bike and it seemed awesome. But then you get on the inside and you find put that they have problems with things and not everything goes perfectly. So it’s strange to be a part of it now.”

Evans is a relatively new recruit to the British Cycling set-up. Until just a few years ago, she was working as a full-time vet and cycling if and when her job allowed. However, she was invited to join the British Cycling programme and in 2017, took a career break and became a full-time cyclist. And so, eight months out from Tokyo 2020, Evans, who has established herself as a member of the team pursuit squad that also includes her compatriot Katie Archibald, is fully focused on adding an Olympic medal to the European Championship gold medals she has won in the past couple of years.

This season has started well for Evans. Last month, she was part of the team pursuit squad that successfully defended their European title before winning the elite women’s title alongside Archibald at Six Day London.

Evans’ next outing of the season begins today, at the Glasgow leg of the World Cup series, at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

For Evans, who is originally from Aberdeenshire, there are few things more thrilling than the prospect of competing against the world’s best at the velodrome in which she learned her trade.

“It sounds like such a cliché but it really is so special to race at home,” she said.

“Glasgow is where I learned to ride the track and I trained there when I was still working as a vet and so for me, it very much is my home velodrome. And what’s even better, it’s a real world-class field, that makes it even more special.”

Evans and her fellow team pursuit riders may have been in good form but the 29-year-old refuses to get complacent. As with most elite athletes, Evans is always looking to improve and she admits that despite the good performances, the drive towards perfection rarely subsides. However, she does admit that with Tokyo on the horizon, she is excited to see how fast she can go when she is due to peak.

“I think the pessimist in me is always thinking this should be better or that should be better but I think that’s elite-level sport, always looking at how you can improve,” she said.

“Also, things are very much geared around a couple of key events so that means that when things have gone well, it’s very encouraging knowing that it’s gone well when we’ve been carrying a heavier workload than we would when we’re aiming for a really good performance. So when we have a full taper, it’s good to think it’ll be really good.

“All eyes are definitely on Tokyo. At the moment, it doesn’t feel like more pressure than a normal year for now, but I think that’s going to change.Tokyo has always been there, but it’s becoming a lot more apparent now. So that’s exciting.”

Also in action in Glasgow over the next three days will be Evans’ fellow Scots, Archibald and Jack Carlin, as well as Olympic gold medallists Laura and Jason Kenny, Ed Clancy, Elinor Barker and Phil Hindes.