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Katie Archibald – individual pursuit was the highest of highs for me

"Racing against an Aussie in front of an Aussie crowd, this was a terrible thing to hear!"

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VeloVeritas has already spoken to brother John about his men’s individual pursuit silver medal and now it’s time to hear what Katie Archibald has to say about her Games campaign where there was women’s individual pursuit gold in a Games record, points race silver behind Wales’ Elinor Barker and rides in the women’s scratch – where she finished fourth behind Amy Cure of Australia – and on the road in time trial and road race.

With every event now so specialist it was always likely that Katie and team mate Neah Evans would both be ‘up against it’ in the road events where girls have been riding road programmes rather than training for the short, sharp efforts of the velodrome.

Despite this Katie finished fourth in the time trial with Neah eighth; victory going to multiple Aussie time trial national champion and Chrono Champenois winner, Katrin Garfoot.

In the road race Neah was eighth and Katie was in 23rd spot with gold going to world stage road event regular top finisher, ‘home girl’ Chloe Hosking.

Thank you for speaking to us, Katie and congratulations on the medals – Games record in the pursuit qualifying; 3:24 did you ride to a lap schedule or just go out and ride on feel?

“Feel.

“I am the shame of my family; John did a perfectly paced qualifier, squeezing in the closing stages, I went out close to world record pace (3:20) and crawled home in the last 500m.

“If memory serves I did get the gold in my event though…”

Eight Cycling Medals for Scotland
Katie took Gold in the Individual Pursuit. Photo©BBC

That first ride is so important now, it decides everything – that’s a lot of pressure.

“I concur.”

The final looked TOUGH, Rebecca Wiasak is a seasoned competitor.

“The crowd started going wild with excitement in the middle kilometre.

“Racing against an Aussie in front of an Aussie crowd, this was a terrible thing to hear!”

Points race: was it always the plan that you and Neah would ride your own races?

“Yeah, we both wanted to win.

“We’ve raced together often and finished one/two so it seemed feasible – it wasn’t.”

It must have been frustrating when Elinor Barker took off to gain that lap in the points and everyone just sat and looked?

“I haven’t watched the race back yet (I’ve been putting it off) so I maybe shouldn’t comment from emotion ridden memory.”

Katie Archibald
Katie flies the Saltire. Photo©Sky Sports

The scratch race: any ‘what ifs’?

“It’s tricky to talk about race plans for these events because it’s a nuanced and blurred code around teamwork, but no it’s not one that’s keeping me up at night with ‘What If’s’ – I’ve quite purposefully put it to bed.

“The scratch race from worlds on the other hand, now that one tortures me.”

The speed of the track seemed to vary greatly between the afternoon and evening sessions – what did you think of the velodrome?

“Well, it was fast but it was also so comfy to ride.

“Having raced Apeldoorn the month previous, which was just crazy slippery, it felt so nice to feel relaxed moving around a track that just carried you.”

Time trial: it must be difficult to jump on a TT bike and look for a result after all that track training and competition?

“I would have loved to have been on that TT podium (I was fourth), and a small part of me thought I could do it.

“Until I pedalled off the starting ramp and realised I was in Sunday town bike mode.

“I probably gave all I was capable of but it just felt like such groggy ride which bummed me out.”

Katie Archibald
Katie is one of the best cyclists Scotland has ever produced. Phot