Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeInterviewsJohn Archibald - Silver TT and Bronze RR National Championship Medals

John Archibald – Silver TT and Bronze RR National Championship Medals

"In the past at three hours my power would drop but now I can produce my best figures after four hours."

-

Six seconds, that was the margin between five times previous champion, gold medal winner and former World Hour Record Holder, Alex Dowsett [Katusha] and silver medallist, Scotland’s John Archibald [Ribble Pro Cycling] in last week’s British Cycling Time Trial Championship in Norfolk.

There’s a ‘but’…

With two kilometres to go Archibald dropped his chain and lost most of the air from his rear tyre after hitting a pothole; Archibald was riding a single ring setup and the chain jammed between the ring and chainstay.

We heard from one of our spies that Archibald had to prise the chain loose and get it back on the ring before he could put the power down again – it sounds like more than six seconds lost to us? 

But we’re at pains to emphasise that we had to talk Archibald into allowing us to print this information. He was adamant that Dowsett won ‘fair and square’ and he didn’t want to come across as saying he would have won but for the brush with the pothole.

That was the Thursday and on the Sunday he took the bronze medal home from the British Elite Road Race Championship which finished in Norwich, having been a key part of the winning move with Ineos stars, former champion, double Het Nieuwsblad winner and Roubaix podium finisher, Ian Stannard and former World Scratch Champion, top five Worlds Road Race finisher and twice Milan-Sanremo podium finisher, Ben Swift.

VeloVeritas caught up with the slim man who just keeps on getting better on the Tuesday after his splendid performances.

John Archibald Silver
John wins the Silver medal in the TT, between two World Tour riders. Photo©Zac Williams/SWpix.com

Great performances, John – we were wondering if riding the Tour of Yorkshire set you up for such a strong couple of rides?

“It seemed like a good training block but I’m not convinced it actually did my form any good.

“I was fatigued for a couple of weeks after and like I say, I’m not sure of the benefit but that said, it was a great experience to be exposed to that level of competition.”

Isn’t difficult to prepare for a time trial at that level whilst being in shape for the road race?

“I’ve done a lot of road racing this year including National events with four hour durations, so my prep for the road was good and I just had to do a couple of weeks of time trialling specific work.

“The road racing has made a big difference to me; last year I might have been starting to struggle after three hours whereas now I’m still there after four hours.”

John Archibald Silver
John was already showing his TT form and aero improvements in the early season Tour of the Meldons TT. Photo©Martin Williamson

And the big question – those six seconds in the time test, could you have found it?

“Well, I did drop my chain at two kilometres to go after hitting an enormous pot hole, I lost pressure in the back tyre – I was on tubeless and think if I had been on other type of tyre then I’d have double punctured.

“But I don’t want to say it cost me the race, Dowsett won fair and square.”

You mentioned that the road course was one which suited those with the ‘aero’ aspect well sorted?

“The race was flat and with a 45 kph average and speeds regularly touching 60 kph you have to be ‘aero’ and that’s one aspect that our team has well-dialled.

“With the course being so flat and fast, it was one I could initiate moves on, rather than play catch up on the hills.”

Is it in order to ask about your championship watts?

“Sure. In the time trial I averaged 379 watts for the 49 minutes and in the road race my average was 271 watts, normalised to 300 watts.

“Because I’m economical I don’t do especially high watts; I was pleased that inside 20 K to go I was achieving my highest numbers of the race.

“As I said earlier, in the past at three hours my power would drop but now I can produce my best figures after four hours.”

John Archibald Silver
John has finished third in the Road Race. Photo©Zac Williams/SWpix.com

“I guess the one good thing about riding against Sky/Ineos in the National is that you know exactly what’s going to happen – they’ll do their best to blow the race apart from the off?

“In the National that’s generally what happens but this year with the route being so flat and fast it was very difficult for a move to get clear, they would go but there were always plenty of people to chase them down.

“I sat in for the first 120 Km – that’s the point where folks are starting to get tired – then I started to move.

“I ended up with the two Ineos guys, I knew it would be difficult for me but at the same time they’re both guys who know what they’re about so I knew that it was the move.”

Ian Stannard is bestial, is he not?

“Relentless, very impressive, he gave Ben such an easy ride, and they ended up one-two so the day couldn’t have been better for them, really.”

John’s Bronze Medal in the Road Race was a great result in World Tour company. Photo©Zac Williams/SWpix.com

Swift’s winning jump was pretty impressive.

“In the finale he just sat on me when Stannard was away but when he did go, he really went, you could see he was very confident.”

I know the answer to this question is probably, ‘not much’ but with hindsight, could you have done anything differently against them?

“I have thought about that but Stannard kept manoeuvring me into the middle of the group so I really couldn’t make a move; perhaps if I’d slowed it right down so that I could drop back, lay off the wheels then attack – but it was always going to be difficult against two men of their ability and tactical expertise.”

John’s second podium of the Championships. Photo©Zac Williams/SWpix.com

After your TT ride the Worlds TT must be on your radar?

“I’m not sure, I believe the Worlds course is pretty hilly and perhaps more suited to a climber/TT rider – but perhaps the TTT relay, I don’t know…”

What’s next on the agenda?

“I have the Beaumont Trophy, Stockton GP, Scottish Road Race Championship then the CTT ’10’ Champs, then it’s back to the track.”

Talking of the track, the UCI changes to the World Cups must be a disappointment to you HUUB guys?

“It is disappointing, I can’t see the benefit or follow the thought process behind the changes – there are a lot of folks aggrieved by it, not just us.

“The BEAT team aren’t happy and the Welsh guys enter the World Cups as a trade team.

“Dan Bigham (HUUB rider/guru, ed.) has a podcast coming up with UCI boss, David Lappartient so that should be interesting.”

And what of the HUUB multiple world record attempts in Aguascalientes?

“Yes, that’s still happening but it’ll be next year now.”

VeloVeritas looks forward to that one, with the individual and four kilometre pursuit and one hour records all on the HUUB radar.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Thomas Gloag – “I find myself getting better as the road slopes upwards”

Tom Pidcock’s stunning performance to win the ‘Baby’ Giro - with three stage wins along the way - over-shadowed a very promising ride by his Trinity Racing team mate, Thomas Gloag, the young man from London getting stronger as the race progressed.

Mark Stewart – Hitting the Headlines Again with Gold at the Track World Cup

He's been making the headlines again, that Mark Stewart laddie. We last spoke to him after his wins in the British scratch and team pursuit championships - not forgetting his silver in the points race. This time it was success in the second round of the UCI World Cup in New Zealand where he won the scratch race.

Evan Oliphant – Looking forward to Ghent-Wevelgem

We caught up with Scottish professional Evan Oliphant shortly after he returned from a winter spent racing in Australia, and just prior to his new DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed team's official launch in Holland.

Jacob Vaughan – Targeting the u23 Classics with CC Étupes

Talent isn’t the only quality you need to ‘make it’ in cycling, Lady Luck plays a big part; 'right time, right place', but of vital importance is persistence. As Winston Churchill said; ‘never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.’ Former British Junior Road Race Champion, Jacob Vaughan must have read that quotation.

Matt Green – From England to the USA, via Belgium

Matt Green’s is a typical story, a young Englishman who gets into cycling, trudges the well trodden path to the Flatlands of Flanders, gets a contract on low budget teams – Cyclingnews, Cinelli, Marco Polo – and then... The progression stalls; but rather than bang his head against the combines in Flanders for another year, he’s decided that there’s a New World of cycling for him – across the pond in the USA. He’s secured a private sponsor to pay his wages and all he needs now is a team – here’s his tale:

Davie Whitehall – Versatile Scottish Rider in the ’70s and ’80s

He’s a man we should have caught up with long ago – but one of the few good things about ‘lockdown’ is that it has given us the time to catch up with riders who have ‘slipped through the VeloVeritas net.’ At last; Mr. David Whitehall...

At Random

Berlin Six Day 2013 – Golden Night

Any talk of decline appears to have been, thankfully, premature as 25,000 people had visited the 102nd Berlin Six Day over the first two days. Tonight was ‘Golden Night’ and another massive crowd of around 13,000 trudged through the ice and snow in temperatures of around -13 to cheer and, in Berlin’s inimitable style, whistle the riders around the 250 metre track.

Grenoble Six Days 2011 – First Night

'The track door will open at 09:30,' we were told, but this is the Grenoble Six Days 2011 - in France, and you have to give or take 45 minutes - and sure enough, we got in around 10:15. Bring the last of the gear down from the camper, set up the track cabins, go to the shops for supplies, help the guys with their bikes, go to the shops for razors so Franco can shave his legs, help with the dinner, do the washing up and then slip out quietly when the riders all descend upon our cabin for their pre-race meeting.

Ian Boswell – “A three year deal with Sky gives me confidence”

Baby Giro winner, Joe Dombrowski is just half the story when it comes to rising US stars joining Team Sky for 2013. Dombrowski’s friend, countryman and Bontrager-Livestrong team mate, Ian Boswell is another young man who’s been busy this year, attracted a lot of attention and will be joining the Team Sky juggernaut.

Grenoble Four Day 2012, Day Three: Kenny & Iljo or Morgan & Brian?

My pal Vik called me this morning; ‘the racing at the Grenoble Four Day can’t be very good if you’re spending so much time taking pictures of boys on the trapeze!’ If I could get him down here it would be different. It’s not just a bike race; if he was here, eating the nice food, drinking champers with friends, with the race whizzing around him and the amazing shows, he'd see things in a new light.

Craig Hardie

It was with great sadness that we learnt this week about the passing of Craig Hardie, a living legend in Scottish cycling and beyond as a successful rider, true character, and popular bike shop owner, but so much more than that too. Originally from Dalgety Bay in Fife, Craig was a long-time member and stalwart of the Dunfermline Cycling Club and enjoyed a stellar cycling career.

Chris Wreghitt – British Cyclo-Cross Star of the ’80’s and Successful Businessman

The current state of British cyclo-cross is perhaps similar to how the road scene was before the days of Peter Keen, lottery money, 'the Plan,' David Brailsford and Sky came along. No real development system, just the odd talented individual who forces their way through but the rider who perhaps aroused the most excitement was a tall young man called Chris Wreghitt.