Katie Archibald was instrumental in the British quartet that claimed the rainbow jersey in the Women’s Team Pursuit on Saturday night at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
An excellent turn by the Olympic champion with 1km to go turned the tide of the pursuit against New Zealand in favour of the Brits, claiming their first rainbow jersey in this blue-riband event for over nine years.
What better day to do it than at the inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships, at home in Glasgow.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Archibald had to say:
“People talk about imposter syndrome, we always talk about being the best in the world but this is the first time we’ve been on the top step since 2014, so to have that feeling validated, even if it’s just one day a year, it feels good.”
Fin Graham entertained the crowd as he and teammate Jaco Van Gass put on a show in the Men’s C3 Scratch Race, attacking and catching the Colombian rider out front with 20 laps to go and gaining a lap on the field, which set up an incredible finale.
Graham led out the sprint in the melee of the bunch and was passed on the line by his teammate, but the Strathpeffer rider claimed another silver medal:
The Scot told Scottish Cycling:
“I wanted to make sure that nothing got away early and when I saw that the Colombian nearly gained a lap, I didn’t want that to happen obviously, I was like, we need to go now to prevent this sticking.
“I would rather work to get gold than sit in to get silver, so I went and noticed Jaco came with me and we managed to work together to gain a lap.
“Halfway round, it was a case of my legs were killing me, I’m regretting my decision and this is stupid idea, but the crowd got us round, riding round it was constant noise, which helped massively. I wasn’t quite able to nip Jaco on the line but it was a super strong ride from both us, but it’s been a good start to the Champs for us.”
Jenny Holl piloted Sophie Unwin to another medal, as the Tandem duo qualified themselves for the Women’s B Sprint final, which will take place tomorrow evening.
A guaranteed silver medal, with a shot of gold, was won after back-to-back straight victories against Argentine and Italian tandems. They will face the duo of Jessica Gallagher and pilot Caitlan Ward of Australia tomorrow evening.
The morning saw the early Sprint rounds in the for the Men and Women’s B with Jack Carlin and the tandem of Jenny Holl and Sophie Unwin in action.
Off the back of a brace of World titles in as many days, Holl and Unwin were chasing a track hattrick, and their campaign started well qualifying second, and winning their quarter-final 2-0 to progress to the semi-finals in the evening session.
Jack Carlin impressed in qualifying with a time of 9.606 – fifth fastest in a very competitive field. The Paisley rider faced up the Colombian Quintero in the Round of 16, with the Scot committing to the sprint early and just about holding off the fast-finishing Colombian – who claimed a silver at the Track Nations Cup round in Glasgow last year – to progress to the Quarter-Finals, which take place tomorrow.
Scotland’s Downhill Mountain Bikers put on a show for a sell-out crowd at Fort William, despite typically Scottish conditions.
First up were the Elite Women, Mikayla Parton first off, the local girl, in her tartan trews, putting together a solid run, which would eventually be rewarded with a top 20 finish.
Next came Phoebe Gale, one of the youngest riders in the competition as a first year Elite, but that didn’t faze her, as she ripped her way down such a gruelling course with relative ease, the crowd roaring her on. Such was the pace of her run, she would find herself in the hot seat as fastest so far.
That would only last 60 seconds though, as next to go was Louise-Anna Ferguson, the Fort William native laying down the run of her life. Despite a modest opening sector, Ferguson found speed that nobody else had on the lower slopes, putting a full second into Gale’s effort.
For almost half an hour the pair stayed one and two in the hot seats, but with the fastest coming last, it would come down to the wire. In the end it was fourth and fifth in the World for the two Scots.
An emotional Louise-Anna spoke with delight afterwards:
“I’m so pumped to be fourth! I know people say it’s the worst position, and the first step off the podium, but I feel like I won today!
“I came from Crankworks, Whistler, and got a bit sick there and it’s been getting worse throughout the week, so I’ve been struggling on track and just kind of survived seeding yesterday, so today I didn’t have any expectations.
“I was so surprised when I came across the finish line and it flashed up first! It’s just mind blowing – I don’t really have any words, other than that I’m super emotional!”
“Honestly, that was the most insane experience of my life. The crowds have been insane, home race, to do a race like this in Scotland is just a dream – I’ve been dreaming about this for so long.
“I’m so happy with that – I put down a good run – I put a lot into that and it’s been a big week, so I’m just so stoked. There’s obviously been a bit of pressure being at home, but I’ve just been smiling all through the week – you’ve got to enjoy it and I’ve just been enjoying riding my bike and having fun out there.”
Next up came the men, with Greg Williamson the sole Scot in the GB line-up, and he would start early in proceedings. As his compatriots had done in the women’s event, he nailed his run to post the fastest time, although it was bettered minutes later by one of the Spaniards.
Despite some 30 riders still yet to go, as the heavens opened and course conditions deteriorated rapidly, there was a question mark over how long he would stay on that second place seat in the finishing bowl.
Ultimately the answer was a long time! GB’s Charlie Hatton laid down and super quick time, which would eventually see him crowned World Champion, with Williamson ending up in eighth place, a performance he could certainly be proud of.
Afterwards, he noted:
“It’s incredible. I had a real tough go of it this morning, as I smashed a tree with my shoulder and I think it’s partially separated, but we dug deep and got it done – eighth place at World Champs, I can’t argue with that. The home crowd is amazing.”
On being in the hot seat for most of the competition, he said:
“I seeded ok, but they didn’t change the order – fortunately it meant I got better weather, so all good! It’s hard to take it all in right now, the crowd is just amazing and a Brit winning – I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
After a brilliant few days, the MTB action in Fort William comes to an end, with eyes switching to Glentress where the Marathon will take place on Sunday 6th August, along with our Race The Worlds Dirt Crits for the best Under 16 riders in Scotland.