We talk to Shane Archbold about the Fiorenzuola Summer Six Day. My favourite Shane story is the one where I pulled him in off the track at Copenhagen during the Six Day.
‘I was going pretty good up there!’ says our boy – the only thing was that I was pulling him in after the rolling presentation of teams.
In a world dominated by computers, data and watts there’s the danger that it can create riders who are less than colourful – that’s not a worry with Mr. Archbold.
Famous for his mullet, in that same Six at Copenhagen you could see other riders thinking; ‘who is this guy?’
When he came a close second in the first flying lap of the race there was a collective raising of eyebrows as the Six Day men realised that he may be mulleted – but he’s damn quick.
Fun to be around and a font of quotable quotes he’s nonetheless a spectacular, fast and committed rider with Worlds honours to his name.
Archbold started as a novice back in New Zealand in 2004 when he was second in the National Novices Road Race Championship.
He repeated the feat in 2005 and added the Novices Time Trial Championship for good measure.
By 2006 he was a bronze medallist in the National Junior Team Sprint Championship and a silver medallist in the National Junior Pursuit Championship – and picked up a Worlds silver medal in the junior team pursuit.
The following year he converted Junior National Championship pursuit silver to gold and won a stage in the Tour du Pays de Vaud in Switzerland.
In 2008 there were stage wins in major home races the Tour of the Vineyards and Benchmark Tour – and a road win in Lancy, Switzerland in 2009.
World Cup omnium successes came his way in 2010 and continued into 2011, capped with a silver medal in the discipline at the Worlds.
That season also saw a stage win in the tough Mi-Aout Bretonne as well as a spell in yellow at the Rás in Ireland.
Last season saw a stage win in the Tour de la Dordogne.
This year, in the colours of Sean Kelly’s AN Post team, he took silver in the scratch and points as well as gold in the team pursuit at the New Zealand track Nationals.
He’s also won a stage in the Rás as well as a stage in another of those tough Irish tours, the Suir Valley.
And just recently – partnered by up and coming Kiwi star, Dylan Kennet – he won the Fiorenzuola summer Six Day in Italy.
We felt an interview was overdue…
Fiorenzuola, congratulations – tell as about that, please.
“Fiorenzuola was great, how can you complain when you get you’re having a good summer of racing and it’s in 37 degrees heat?
“I love racing down there in Italy – great people and great racing. This year it was made easy for me when I was partnered with 18 year old Dylan Kennet.
“He was by far the fastest and strongest out on the track I just had to guide him though it all.”
How does it compare to the winter Sixes you’ve ridden – will we see you in any winter Six Days?
“Well, I have only ridden one winter Six Day that being Copenhagen, they are completely different with the winter Sixes having five to eight races a night but sometimes in Fiorenzuola only one race per night.
“Obviously the fields are not as strong as the winter Sixes and the crowds not as mental.
“I would love to race the Sixes this winter but it’s very difficult for me to make time with my track commitments to the national team.”
You had a good New Zealand track champs, silver in the scratch and points plus team pursuit gold – but no Worlds?
“The Nationals were very kind to me I didn’t do so much training for the actually races, I did more just preparation for my road season this year so I was happy to pick up one title and two silver medals.
“Obviously with Aaron Gates winning world titles he was more suited to compete at the world champs.
“And that turned out to work very well.”
Is the 2014 Worlds omnium on the agenda and are the Glasgow Games omnium a big target.
“The omnium is definitely one of my goals still; I do want to go one better than my silver at the world championship level but selection will be one of the hardest things for me to overcome with the current world champion and my good friend Aaron Gate coming from New Zealand.
“I am switching my focus back to Team pursuit next year due to the Commonwealth Games being in Glasgow and the omnium not being an event that’s in the programme there.”
Do you enjoy living in Belgium – could you see yourself based there if you got to Pro Continental or World Tour level?
“Buggenhout is where I’m based at the team house for AN Post Chain Reaction.
“I could definitely base myself in Belgium if I was lucky enough to go pro; but it would be hard to turn down somewhere with nice training and weather Like Girona.”
You’ve been spending time in Ireland – romance, Shane?
“Yeah with the Rás and a nice stage win – very important to the team – it’s just that I’m in love with Ireland …
“With the team having sponsors there it’s important for us to fly the Irish flag over there.
“And I have managed to fly it well with a stage win in each of the races I rode.
“Ireland is always good to me; great people, and the racing is always good fun.”
Tell us about your kermises please, Shane – there’s been a few strong results …
“Being bought up as a track rider in New Zealand I have always had a love for the kermis style racing.
“So far this year I have had a first, second and third in the amateur kermises.
“Obviously with doing so many big races with AN Post this year I haven’t had time to do too many but I was happy to win my home town one here in Buggenhout.
“Yesterday I got the chance to start my second pro kermis for the season which took place in Heusden and it worked out close to perfectly with me managing to get up for third with Kenny Dehaes from Lotto winning.”
Will we see you with AN Post, next year?
“2014 still doesn’t have any plans set in stone for me.
“Obviously I would love to ride for AN Post again, but with the Commonwealth Games being in the middle of the season it will be difficult to make it all work in nicely.”
What does the rest of 2013 hold for you?
“2013 season has gone by so fast and is coming to an end very quickly, I have six weeks left racing for An Post on the road which will hopefully end with the Tour of Britain in the middle of September.
“Then it will be back to New Zealand and I’ll have two weeks to prepare myself for the coming track season.”
Have you managed to resist the Duvel in Belgium?
“Well funny enough I have been crowned the Duvel champion (amongst friends) after four years of trying.
“I have finally broken a good friend of mine’s record – but that’s enough about that part of my palmarès.”
The mullet is on the way back – how’s it going?
“The mullet is coming along nicely; after ten months since been shaved back to skin I can’t complain.
“Another year or so and it will be out and proud again – without doubt much to my girlfriend’s disgust.”