Olympic champ Archibald unsure of form ahead of Manchester Track World Cup

Katie Archibald will take an unwanted step unto the unknown when the TISSOT UCI Track World Cup returns to Manchester this weekend.

The 23-year-old Olympic and world champion, from Milngavie, has demonstrated to all that she is on form this season - all but herself it seems.

Last month she picked up the ninth and tenth European titles of her career before adding the Six Day London women’s title to her palmares for a second time, just a week later.

But for Archibald, a complex mixture of self-confidence and self-doubt, she is still unsure of herself going into the first Manchester World Cup since 2013.

“In the team pursuit you’ve got numbers and times that you can fall back on and say black or white, this is how you’re going,” she said.

“But even then my form is still fairly erratic.

“Then with the bunch events I just have to trust how I think and feel, and it’s really frustrating because I’ve no idea how I feel.”

Archibald will race the team pursuit, omnium and Madison this weekend, a busy schedule that will see her potentially taking to the track in all but one of the event’s six sessions.

At the recent Six Day London she won the UCI omnium event, taking victories in the tempo and elimination races before holding her position in the points race.

Over the three days of competition at London’s Olympic velodrome, though, she failed to win any of the three scratch races that were competed - a fact not lost on her.

“I like a good stat and it was interesting to point out that we had three scratch races and I didn’t win any of them,” she added.

“I think a lot of it is to do with omnium focus and constantly thinking of the different players and how many matches you want to burn in one go.

“You do worry that you lose the instinct to go for a race and win it, though.”

So, will the Manchester crowd see her going all out to win the scratch race on Friday afternoon and take the omnium lead right from the outset?

Well, that hasn’t been decided quite yet.

“I’m still learning the omnium. I was rewatching my races from the World Championships recently and the way you gauge your effort is something that I learn event after event,” said the world and European champion.

“My ideal is that I want to go into the points race defending, rather than having to attack.

“It sounds obvious, you just want to win every event up to that point and try to get scoring early on - get to a point where you can mark, rather than having to get rid of somebody.

“But it almost is a gamble because if you go into a scratch race gung-ho and everything is about winning, then you might end up on your knees by event two and it’s something that people can take advantage of.

“You just have to play to your strengths - whatever they may be on the day.”

On November 10-12, incredible riders like Katie Archibald will compete on the Manchester Velodrome in one of the most anticipated events on the track cycling calendar. Buy your tickets http://www.trackworldcup.co.uk/tickets/

Sportsbeat 2017

Pic: SWpix.com