“Yes I’m well, thanks…. Actually, no that was a total lie.”
Fresh from the Track World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland, Katie Archibald isn’t sure how she is feeling, or indeed how she should be feeling. The Olympic champion and world record holder crashed out of the omnium in the final points race, and despite finishing, was told to withdraw from her chosen event, the Madison on medical grounds.
She had stepped up to take Laura Kenny’s spot, after the four-time Olympic gold medallist withdrew with illness, after the duo, joined by Elinor Barker and Ellie Dickinson, rode to a silver medal in the women’s team pursuit, behind Australia.
But this cloud does not have a silver lining. At least not yet, for Scotswoman Archibald.
“I am hideously sad,” she admitted. “But there’s not just one emotion. It’s a confusing and painful mix and I’m in a position when I’m trying to figure out how I should feel, what’s justified, what’s not. I had spent 12 months targeting the Madison and then not being able to contest it… I didn’t take it very well. But it’s my birthday next week, so maybe I can reflect with a bit more grace another year older.”
Straight back to it, Archibald was speaking from the launch of the Women’s Tour of Scotland, a brand new, stand-alone women’s race to be raced across Scotland, from Dundee, to Glasgow, to Edinburgh.
And while the 24-year-old readily admits success on the road is not her calling in the next 12 months with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games looming, it will be the biggest part of her road season this year.
“It will be amazing riding for the Scottish Cycling Team. Outside of the Commonwealth Games, we don’t get much chance to do that. I’ll take a lot of pleasure from that,” she said.
“It’s pretty cool we have a stand-alone women’s race in Scotland and I’m very proud. It’s not a piggy-back event, this is going to be a first. The organisers are putting the sort of prize money up you’d expect from a men’s race of this standard, so there are lots of things to shout about.
“This is a three-stage race but the organisers have the vision to keep expanding. That is so cool. There is longevity and this race should be a prominent feature of the UCI. It will be a fantastic event and putting this event on shows event organiser, sponsors, fans have confidence that women’s racing can stand on it’s own two feet.
“The best teams in the world are turning up for a stage race in Scotland. That is pretty cool.”
The Women’s Tour of Scotland is on 9-11 August. The three-stage race will cover 360km.
Stage One: Dundee to Dunfermline – 103km
Stage Two: Glasgow to Perth – 139.4km
Stage Three: Edinburgh to Edinburgh – 118.3km