Most of the hugely successful GB Olympic cycling team are taking a break – but not Scotland’s Katie Archibald who undertook a hugely successful campaign at the recent European Track Championships in Paris. And that’s before we talk about her racing and winning at the London Six Day…
We caught up with her post-Paris but pre-London to discuss her two golds and one silver medal Euro haul…
Congratulations, Katie, thank you for speaking to us – how much has life changed now you’re an Olympic champion?
“I think the biggest change hasn’t been because we won – it’s just being on the other side of the Games.
“It’s so long until Tokyo that we’re really encouraged to be less rigid with our lives and, basically, get out and do more STUFF.
“I’m awful at sticking to routine but it soothes my whole life when I do, so I’m finding being allowed to let my calendar go chaotic – gets me in a muddle, shall we say.”
You had your post Rio holiday in Iceland, what was it like?
You’ve obviously been training hard since…
“Yes, I took a month off and got back to training on 19th September.
“I’m experimenting a bit with what I do, letting myself choose fun sessions but still working hard, yes.”
The Europeans must be important to you? From what I could see only you and Steve Burke from the Rio squad were there?
“Yep – myself, Elinor Barker and Steven Burke were the only Rio riders there.
“This whole season is important to me, I really want to branch out with my racing ambitions.”
It was a young squad of girls for GB in the team pursuit – did you miss riding it?
“I love team pursuit – but no, I wanted to stay fresh for the individual!
“Team pursuit training is fantastic because it’s actually really varied what we get up to, and we’re always pushing each other since you train as a team.
“That’s what I’m missing a bit, but having some healthy time away.”
3:29 to win the individual pursuit – is that a personal best?
“I qualified in 3.28.3 I’ll have you know! Which is a personal best; I’m very pleased.”
Did you like the new four discipline with no timed event omnium formula?
“As a fan I totally love it – the event is super exciting.
“As a rider I have to acknowledge that the individual pursuit was probably my best event so sad to see it go.
“But I’m an awful 500TT rider so it evens out – I’m pretty happy.”
The Omnium ‘Tempo race’ (one point on offer each time across the line and ‘bonus’ points for a lap gain, ed.) were you happy with third place?
“Aw man, I totally could have done better in that race!
“It’s really too long a conversation. The Tempo race will take some learning, maybe the rules will change as well – who knows?”
Then fifth in the omnium scratch – we’re you happy enough with that?
“Yeah I didn’t want to use a lot of beans trying to take a lap so marked who I thought would be big competition to try and beat them in the sprint.
“The only mistake was the Norwegian rider getting away, otherwise I was happy.”
You won the devil – that’s a savage race; it cost Norman Hansen the Olympic Omnium, didn’t it?
“Oh my gee, I’ve thought about that race every time I go up for a “Devil” this season, it’s a constant nightmare – and at the Olympic Games!
“What a thing for Hansen to come back from though and get on the podium.
“You’re right – it’s savage but that’s why it’s so good.”
And finally sixth in the Points but enough to give you the win, 141 points to Wild on 135 – what’s it like trying to keep track of the points in the heat of the fray?
“Harder now it’s double points on the last sprint.
“I didn’t know I was sixth – we just constantly count up the overall omnium points which is what they show on the scoreboard.
“An Omnium Points race is totally different to a normal points race because you tend to already know who you’re trying to escape from or cover before the race.
“But that also means a rogue low placed rider coming into it might go under the radar and rack up some serious points.”
And there’s a separate elimination race title up for grabs? You were second to Wild – she’s a big strong lass…
“I’m annoyed about how I handled the final sprint, but not embarrassed to finish second to someone as fast as Wild.”
The Glasgow World Cup must be an important date in your diary?
“Indeed, I’m hopefully riding the Madison.” [See below…]
What does the rest of the winter hold for you?
“Lots of racing!
“Then come the New Year I’ll get a bit more anal with my training and start thinking about track World Champs which are in April, in Hong Kong.”
Katie’s already been winning again at the London Six Day and at the UCI Track World Cup in Glasgow, where the 22 year old crashed with partner Manon Lloyd during the Madison but got back on her bike and took Gold – despite having what later turned out to be a broken wrist!
Katie will therefore miss the chance of a Scottish National Track Championship title this weekend, but VeloVeritas will keep an eye on her progress as the winter progresses – and try to keep you abreast of the ever-changing UCI velodrome rule book too.