Golden girl Archibald taking the rainbow stripes in her stride
29 September 2017
A Six Day London victor, an Olympic gold medallist, a double world champion, an eight-time European title winner and a Commonwealth bronze medallist.
No, that’s not the achievements of our entire women’s field for this year, but the accolades of one track cycling superstar: Katie Archibald.
But however much winning becomes a habit in Archibald’s life, it’s one that she still struggles to get used to.
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That was none more so than in Hong Kong, in March, becoming the world omnium champion for a first individual crown and a moment she will never forget.
That means her racing now comes with a new kit, in the form of rainbow stripes, and it does take a while to realise just how much her life has progressed.
“Being world omnium champion was a very strange thing to fall asleep with,” she admitted.
“I only had my first race in the rainbow stripes a few weeks ago, that was the moment where it all tingled.
“It was a very special Christmas moment getting my new kit in the post and opening it up, and having the conversations about whether to have white or black shorts.
“I sat back for a moment and thought about how fantastic it was to be able to have these conversations as what colour shorts to have as a world champion!
“That final sprint, crossing the line and realising it all come together is one of the major highlights. You just allow yourself to feel the agony radiate through your body, and it’s always something I think of when you’re watching things like the hour records.”
If the feeling of victory is unlike any other, then Archibald is one who knows about it more than most.
That included waltzing her way to Six Day London glory last year, meaning she has a title to defend at the Lee Valley VeloPark but will face stiff competition from an exciting women’s field.
With victory comes expectation and with expectation comes pressure, emotions that the Scot knows about both on the track and the road.
That doesn’t make it any easier for Archibald, until the moment she takes to the track, hoping that the nervous rattles are kept to a minimum in her Six Day London journey in less than a month’s time.
“Usually a win calms you down early on, I’d won the scratch race but I was panicking a bit, I’d gone deep and you can’t empty the tank after event number one, so it was a stressful day,” she added.
“Victory can almost overcome that pain, you think you’re going to fall sideways one minute and then somebody puts a flag around your shoulders and you can just about stand up.
“Every subsequent event you feel you almost have to prove yourself and that you deserve this jersey, and that it wasn’t all a fluke.
“I’m sure that once I do get racing again it will be fine, I’ve sat on the start line and wondered what the noise was, and it’s turned out to be my watch rattling nervously.
“But as soon as you get away and realise it’s just a bike race again, that always helps.”
Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday session of Six Day London are currently sold out with tickets still available for Tuesday to Friday here