Archibald faces dilemma af­ter golden dou­ble at World Cup

The Guardian - Sport - - The Ashes Cricket - Wil­liam Fother­ing­ham Na­tional Cy­cling Cen­tre

Scot­land’s Katie Archibald faces an in­ter­est­ing dilemma in the run-in to next year’s world cham­pi­onships af­ter be­ing Great Britain’s stand-out star of the Manch­ester World Cup, adding gold medals in the Madi­son and team pur­suit to her sil­ver of Fri­day night in the om­nium, where she is the reign­ing world cham­pion.

With the Madi­son now an Olympic event, and the om­nium for­mat changed to make it more at­trac­tive for en­durance riders – as well as for the crowds – the is­sue for Archibald will be whether to go for all three events in Apel­doorn, Hol­land at the end of Fe­bru­ary.

“The def­i­nite am­bi­tion is any­thing that is an Olympic medal, so we want to be good at team pur­suit, Madi­son and om­nium,” said the 23-year-old from Mil­ngavie. “I al­ways as­sume that you aim for the best even for all three but I un­der­stand that there may be a com­pro­mise at some point in one of them.”

Yes­ter­day Archibald with her fel­low Olympic cham­pion Eli­nor Barker and the new­com­ers Emily Nel­son and Neah Evans gave Great Britain their third gold medal of the week­end, dom­i­nat­ing the Ital­ian quar­tet in a rapid 4min 16.803, their fastest time since Rio.

The win­ning mar­gin of al­most 5sec was im­pres­sive, so too the fact that the line-up had been reshuf­fled for the morn­ing’s sec­ond round, with Manon Lloyd and Emily Kay re­plac­ing Archibald and Barker, who had ev­ery right to re­quire a rest af­ter their gold in the Madi­son the pre­vi­ous evening.

“My­self and Eli­nor had never rid­den with Neah be­fore,” Archibald said. “It was an un­known. There’s a lot more to come. The big con­trast be­tween this Olympic cy­cle and the last has been the tech­ni­cal skill of the young riders. We’ve got this really wide bank of really skilled riders.”

That strength in depth should stand Britain in good stead in the run-in to next spring’s world cham­pi­onships in Hol­land, when a bet­ter idea of the hi­er­ar­chy postRio will emerge with the other English­s­peak­ing na­tions – Aus­tralia, Canada and the US – likely to pro­vide much stiffer com­pe­ti­tion. But the co­nun­drum Archibald may face is def­i­nitely a healthy one.

The men’s en­durance side con­tin­ues to blos­som, with Sat­ur­day night’s 3min 55sec ride by Ed Clancy, Stephen Burke, Oliver Wood and Kian Emadi more than promis­ing and the emer­gence of the na­tional cham­pi­ons, Team KGF, clearly shak­ing the tree, some­thing the Great Britain per­for­mance di­rec­tor, Stephen Park, wel­comed.

No con­tender as ob­vi­ous as Archibald has emerged for the Madi­son and om­nium and it re­mains to be seen whether stars of the road such as Mark Cavendish put their hats in the ring as Tokyo ap­proaches. In last night’s clos­ing Madi­son, Mark Ste­wart and Chris Latham rode bravely but were ul­ti­mately out­gunned in sixth place.

In other events Cal­lum Skin­ner was not far off break­ing the magic one-minute bar­rier for the kilo­me­tre time trial en route to a bronze medal that looks promis­ing with the Com­mon­wealth Games on the hori­zon. He was, how­ever, un­able to get close to the Aus­tralian Michael Glaet­zer, who be­came the first man to break the minute at sea-level for the four laps, and could emerge as a star in the Gold Coast in April.

With Ja­son Kenny still to re­turn in the new year and Jack Car­lin, Ryan Owens and Joe Tru­man show­ing promis­ing form here, there are clearly re­serves among Britain’s male sprint­ers, although the women’s sprint events – where Great Britain did man­age a medal over the week­end – look set to prove more of a headache.

Katie Archibald leads Neah Evans, Emily Nel­son and Eli­nor Barker to gold

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