By her own admission, Katie Archibald headed into the individual pursuit competition this week with moderate ambitions but she blew those out of the water to become a European champion for the ninth time.
Archibald had already secured a silver medal at the European Track Cycling Championships in Berlin on Thursday in the women’s team pursuit and went one better in the individual competition 24 hours later.
Having secured a personal best in qualifying, the 23-year-old clinched the European title for the fourth year in a row by beating Poland’s Justyna Kaczkowska.
Kaczkowska led after 1000m but at the two-kilometre mark Archibald was fastest and completed the race in 3:29.328minutes to triumph by more than three seconds.
And the Scot was understandably ecstatic, if a little surprised, to be confirmed as the best individual pursuiter in Europe once again.
“I could hear the commentator and all I could hear was ‘Poland in the lead, Poland in the lead’,” explained Archibald after securing Great Britain’s first gold medal of the week.
“It was good to get the support and I was happy to bring it round in the end. In qualifying, I went faster than ever before, it was a personal best.
“I find that if you go in with expectation, there you leave in tears, so I went in with what turned out to be a moderate ambition.
“By the time the final came around, we were back to having high expectation and I thought it was all going to go wrong!
“I didn’t go quite as fast in the final as in qualifying, it was a tough race.
“Today I’ve had all the wins – I’ve beaten myself and I’ve beaten everyone else, so I’ll go to sleep happy.”
Archibald is now a nine-time European champion having won four individual pursuit titles, three team pursuit crowns and taking one victory each in the elimination race and omnium.
She has the opportunity to make it an even ten over the weekend in Berlin when she competes in the omnium and is aiming high.
She added: “Tomorrow is the omnium, maybe I can complete the collection, but as long as it is gold or silver it will be ok.”
Elsewhere, Katy Marchant finished a creditable sixth in the 500m time trial final, with Sophie Capewell 12th, as German Miriam Welte took a hugely popular win on home soil.
Elinor Barker couldn’t replicate the gold she won at the World Championship in Hong Kong earlier this year as she finished eighth in the points race, while Philip Hindes and Ryan Owens were both knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the men’s individual sprint.
Chris Latham ended the four-event men’s omnium in 16th. Eighth, 18th and 16th in the scratch, tempo and elimination races respectively left Latham in 16th on 42 points heading into the points race, where his total and position remained the same.
And Kian Emadi was 18th in the elimination race, won by Gerben Thijssen of Belgium.