The bad news — there’s no individual pursuit, points or Madison at the Olympics. The good news is that the team pursuit stays and we get the omnium — I had my doubts about this event but there’s no doubt that it produced some savage racing at Apeldoorn; let’s see what silver medallist Shane Archbold had to say.
How old are you, where are from in NZ and how did you get into cycling, Shane?
“I’m 22 years-old born and bred in Timaru, Central South Island of New Zealand [Home of the great Phar Lap – legendary race horse].
“I started cycling through my school team. It was a great idea at the time, I mean, where else could I make $5 on a Tuesday night and $10 on a Saturday?”
I believe you only started the omnium in 2010, what did you ride before that and what was the attraction with this discipline?
“My first omnium was at the Oceania Championships: in November 2010; since then I have ridden five omniums with four podiums.
“Prior to riding the omnium I was concentrating on making the NZ team pursuit squad; which is still in the back of my mind – but with a new found love I have to stick to it.”
You had a great World Cup season riding the event – wins in Manchester and Melbourne; but only 8th in Cali?
“Cali is inexplicable to this day.
“I started the Melbourne World Cup with a dream of getting a top ten, after winning, my confidence grew going into Cali; but it just didn’t happen and I struggled.
“Which bought me back to the fact Melbourne was a fluke, then after Manchester I figured Cali was just the result of a long season and needing to rest.”
Do you get good support from the New Zealand Federation?
“Since the junior Worlds in 2006 I have had nothing but good support from Bike NZ.
“It’s been a long wait but finally I could repay them at Apeldoorn, their sponsors and my personal sponsors with a deserved result for all.”
How do you set about training for all those disciplines?
“It’s easy to train for the omnium, you don’t need to specialize for one event so it’s about being 100% fit and training all disciplines briefly and not forgetting about one of them – because that’s where you’ll suffer.”
Which are your best disciplines?
“All of the timed events I would call my best; I got top: four in all of them – they are the controllable events.
“All three bunch events are uncontrollable you can be the best there and still be in 16th place.”
Which disciplines need more work?
“To become Olympic champion I don’t need to specialize, I just need to get evenly better across all events.”
Your kilo is world class in the middle of all those other races – have you considered specialising in it?
“I’m getting faster with every kilo I do, but I could never specialize for it because I just can’t start fast enough.
“It’s simple, I may be able hold my speed and do a good time, but three seconds faster isn’t possible.
“My kilo at the Worlds was a personal best purely because I started 0.4 second faster than I have previously.”
How many bikes do you need?
“I use the same bike for all races and just change handlebars.”
How do you select your gears for all the different disciplines?
“Gear selection is always hard for the bunch races because your legs are always more tired than you expect.
“But it comes down to gut feeling for me; whatever feels right on the day.”
Has the format for the Olympics been finalized?
“To be honest I’m unsure; I haven’t even thought about it.”
The Worlds – a silver medal for you, are you happy with that?
“More than happy, I’m completely stoked, I mean: four months ago I was trying to get into the team pursuit for the first time after four years of trying – and now I have a silver medal in another Olympic event at the world championships.
“What more can I say?”
Any ‘with hindsight’s’ about the Worlds?
“Ha! in hindsight I would have liked to win!”
What about all the comments that the Apeldoorn track was ‘slow?’
“I rode one personal best and was close to other personal bests in my two other timed events; so I wouldn’t say it was slow.
“But other riders think that it was; although it’s good to see world records, the track is the same for everyone while competition is on.”
Who do you respect among the opposition?
“I have huge respect for all of my opposition for qualifying for the World Championships and finishing.”
What are your goals now? (will there be an omnium in the next Commonwealth Games?)