Olympic champion Katie Archibald hoping for more solo outings

By Jane LewisBBC Scotland
Olympic champion Katie Archibald hoping for more solo outings

Olympic gold medallist Katie Archibald wants more opportunities to compete as an individual track cyclist after solo success at the World Championships.

The Scot won gold in the omnium in Hong Kong earlier this year, after landing the individual spot because defending champion Laura Kenny was pregnant.

However, the 23-year-old admits she is not guaranteed further chances to compete on her own.

"It was pretty huge and I'm hoping to build on that," she told BBC Scotland.

"I've had a good season in terms of national titles.

"But it's an incredibly strong team that we have in Great Britain and that's what makes us so fantastic really, because it's not just a case of we're good together, we're all rivals with each other as well."

Joanna Rowsell-Shand, Elinor Barker, Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald won team pursuit gold at the Rio Olympics
Katie Archibald, right, was part of the GB team pursuit that won gold at the Rio Olympics alongside Joanna Rowsell-Shand, Elinor Barker and Laura Kenny

The rivalry between members of the Great Britain cycling squad spurs each individual on, but there is also a strong sense of unity.

Although Kenny's absence at the World Championships presented Archibald with an opportunity that she took full advantage of, the Scot is keen to see Kenny return to the squad.

The pair won Olympic gold together last year in the team pursuit in Rio, alongside Joanna Rowsell-Shand and Elinor Barker.

"There are some exciting discussions as to how quickly she'll come back and be competing at world level," Archibald said of Kenny.

"I know she's been training all the way through (her pregnancy), and I look forward to having her back on her A game."

Whether Archibald gets to defend her omnium title at next year's World Championships will become clearer in time because right now she admits she is not sure how the British squad will shape up.

This is largely due to a new team event being added to the Olympics cycling programme. The madison is a discipline Archibald enjoys competing in, having won gold with Manon Lloyd of Wales when the event made its debut for women at the World Cup in Glasgow in 2016.

"It's seen as a new medal chance for GB," Archibald said. "So for us that's now three medal targets that we're looking at.

"That means we're still not totally certain of what the squad formation will look like. Do you have team pursuit riders targeting madison as well? Do you have an exclusive omnium rider? So it's added a new dynamic to the team."

Scotland's Katie Archibald won Commonwealth bronze on the track at Glasgow 2014
Scotland's Katie Archibald won a Commonwealth bronze medal on the track at Glasgow 2014

Away from her GB commitments, Archibald is relishing the prospect of competing for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April, which she describes as "big a priority as competing for Britain".

And after collecting a bronze at Glasgow 2014, she's targeting winning more medals for Scotland.

"The Glasgow Commonwealth games were the first major international event that I had," she recalls.

"I said years in advance I wanted to be there and it was every bit as special as I expected it to be.

"It always feels cool to pull on a Scotland jersey and represent your country. The best way to do is to get on the podium and that what I want to do."

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