Scotland had an exceptional World Championship in Apeldoorn with Mark Stewart and Jack Carlin both on the podium; Stewart in the points race and Carlin in the individual and team sprint – both boding very well for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in ‘24 days 09 hours and 55 seconds’ at time of writing. And there was that that remarkable young lady, Katie Archibald taking team pursuit silver with the GB squad and Madison gold with Emily Nelson.
Despite the demands on her time she always finds time to speak to VeloVeritas, something which we very much appreciate.
You’ve won a lot of titles now, how does the madison rate on your table of ‘performances most proud of?’
“A top three item I believe, though you’d have to weigh so many personal factors into the overall importance of a race win that I think setting up a ‘league table’ might prove too confusing to find pleasure in.”
The team pursuit, silver; with the benefit of hindsight, anything the team could have done differently?
“We had a group of riders coming off such different seasons and prep (including of course Laura, who’d given birth just six months previously) that it was hard to sync that into a solid month of track specific team pursuit prep beforehand.
“This will change as we all begin to shape our seasons around team pursuit in the coming two seasons as Olympic qualification begins in August this year.”
Those US girls’ Felts are pretty special, they say they’re worth 3.5 seconds over four K, what’s your take?
“Everyone says this about their bikes.
“Maybe our Cervélos are worth 3.6 seconds.
“But against what?” [Good point. ed.]
The scratch race, you burned an awful lot of watts for sixth spot; again, with hindsight what would you do differently?
“Sit back in the first 20 and play the gamble all the other sprinters played.
“I definitely shouldn’t have swung up with two to go when Kirsten was metres in front of me.
“I’ve not actually watched it back yet, I don’t know for sure.”
You didn’t ride the omnium, points or pursuit – given your versatility it must be very difficult to decide which events you will/won’t ride – how do you go about that?
“I was meant to ride the omnium which, as the only solo Olympic track endurance medal, is “the” race to be selected for.
“I was also defending world champion.
“However I was struggling with some stuff I think I’d like to write about in my own time and it was decided I wasn’t GB’s best medal hope.
“The pursuit I didn’t ride because it clashed with the Madison which was a big target.
“The points race, had I ridden the omnium, would have been race number five of the competition (also remember that team pursuit is three rounds and omnium is four races in one day), so I’d expected to be on my knees by then.
“There’s a natural hierarchy regarding the Olympic events.”
The madison and you and Emily were dominant; did all go as per pre-race the game plan?
“It basically did.
“We got off to a bit of a flustered start because I kept popping the zip on my skinsuit so we were last to line up and it blew to bits from the gun. [We think Katie meant the race, not the skinsuit. ed.]
“Once we were back on the front foot though very little held us back.”
The track has a reputation as not being ‘quick’ but there were some rapid rides turned in.
“Yes; so I feel foolish for expecting it to be slow.”
You had a busy British Championships; that’s not the norm for BC athletes who tend to race infrequently and work towards specific targets – you race all the time, how does management view that?
“Anyone can race as much as they like so long as they don’t mind losing.
“If you’re willing to train through races and in turn use them as training then there’s no problem.
“Being on a constant taper is where you get into trouble.”
What’s your itinerary between now and the Gold Coast?
“A training camp in Portugal and then an early flight out to Sydney with Team Scotland.
“We’re training there for the couple weeks before the Games start and making the final journey to the Gold Coast quite late.”
What will you be riding in The Games?
“The Commonwealth Games unofficial omnium of: individual pursuit, scratch race, points race, road time trial and road race.
“I was really a different athlete back at the Glasgow Games in 2014 but for trivia, I rode the same events and in the order above I came fourth, fifth, third, fifth and seventh.”
The Aussies sent very few athletes to The Worlds, have BC/SC been keeping an eye on what the Aussie girls are up to back in Oz?
“Their new (British) Performance Director, Simon Jones, is a mole.