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Madison key for Archibald as World Cup season progresses

PUBLISHED: 18:00 26 October 2018

Great Britain's Katie Archibald (pic: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Great Britain's Katie Archibald (pic: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Simon Wilkinson - simon@swpix.com

Katie Archibald says she is targeting “solidifying” a place in Great Britain’s Madison duo in Tokyo, as she and her team-mates prepare for a home Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup in December.

The event at the Lee Valley Velodrome in Stratford will see Britain’s women fight for world cup titles – and Tokyo 2020 qualifying points – in the three Olympic endurance events: team pursuit, Madison and omnium.

Already an Olympic champion and a fixture in the team pursuit quartet, Archibald wants to establish herself as one half of the Madison team before assessing whether a bid for all three golds in Tokyo is possible, although she concedes that coach Paul Manning is spoilt for choice with selection options.

“I used to take it as a baseline that, if you’re a competitive cyclist, you should want to go to the Olympics and do everything, so in my case, team pursuit, Madison and omnium,” she explains.

“I still think it’s a natural thing to aspire to, but now I realise it’s not a case of whether a rider can ‘manage’ all three, but rather whether they can be gold medal competitive in all three.

“I really want to believe I can be there for the team pursuit, at the moment I’m aspiring to be there for the Madison, and so the question is can you put the omnium on top of that – can anyone?

“I did all three in Glasgow (at the 2018 UEC European Championships) and it didn’t make me think it was an impossible task. But it’s not a question of whether it’s doable to compete in all three events, it’s whether you can in the years, months, weeks and days leading up to the Olympics, fine-tune all three events and be in a perfect state to take them all on. I don’t have the answer to that yet.

“At the moment, my big aim is trying to solidify that Madison spot.”

Archibald is reigning world champion in the event, having claimed the title alongside Emily Nelson in Apeldoorn in March, and recently became national champion, in partnership with Elinor Barker.

The podium at that event in Derby also included Laura Kenny, Ellie Dickinson, Neah Evans and Emily Kay – an indication of the formidable strength in depth of the British women’s endurance programme, even with world champion Nelson absent as she continues her recovery from injury.

Archibald adds: “We’re working in a squad of nine riders at the moment, so essentially that means that there are nine fairly serious Madison contenders on a world stage, who will all want to go to the Olympic Games.

“We have a real privilege in that sense – that our national championships are so competitive, and Elinor and I were elated to win.

“Everything within our squad is underpinned by the team pursuit, but our strength in depth there means we have so many people who are also competitive in the bunch events.”

Pending selection, Archibald and her team-mates will compete at the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup in Stratford from December 14-16.

The last time Archibald competed at the venue in Great Britain colours was at the equivalent point in the last Olympic cycle – in December 2014 – again at a world cup event.

Archibald and team-mates Kenny, Barker and Ciara Horne won the team pursuit on that occasion, but although her desire to continue Great Britain’s Olympic dominance in that event remains the same, Archibald admits that plenty has changed in the intervening four years.

“I guess I was a much smaller element in the squad back then,” she says.

“That would have been as a consequence of never having been to an Olympics, and just scraping to make the team pursuit squad, without competing in other events.

“I’d like to think that the experience of the last four years has put me in good stead to be a slightly bolder presence now, and part of that development is playing a role in the squad to get us to a better place in Tokyo than we’ve ever been before.

“I quite like the added responsibility – I day-dream about coaching one day, but at the moment this is the biggest thing I’m focusing on.”

Tickets for the London round of the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup remain available to purchase.

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