Eli­nor Barker

The Olympic cham­pion tells us about sib­ling ri­valry and cov­eted shoes

Cycling Weekly - - NEWS -

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your last race? Ten. It was win­ning gold in the World Cup Madi­son with Katie Archibald. We rode in­cred­i­bly well; we can both be re­ally proud of it. We talked about ex­actly what we wanted to do and did it. Katie is an in­cred­i­ble part­ner to race with.

What has been the high­light of the year so far?

Rac­ing La Course was in­cred­i­ble, un­like any­thing I’ve ever done be­fore — it was just pure mad­ness. It was ac­tu­ally part of my preeu­ros track prepa­ra­tion so I wasn’t re­ally in moun­tain climb­ing form. It was still an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence and one of the most beau­ti­ful bike races I have done in my life.

How does hav­ing sis­ter

Me­gan on the GB team in­flu­ence your re­la­tion­ship?

We’ve been in dif­fer­ent age cat­e­gories so we’ve al­ways been able to look out for each other even though we were a lit­tle bit sep­a­rated. It’s in­ter­est­ing now be­cause we are both on the Podium squad, so we are both fight­ing for the same spots — hope­fully we can still man­age to be friends!

If you could win any race what would it be?

It’s about the Olympics and track rac­ing, so Madi­son Gold at the Olympics is at the fore­front of my mind.

What do you do in the track cen­tre be­tween races to keep you oc­cu­pied?

I’ve got a front row seat to quite an ex­cit­ing show, there’s al­ways bike rac­ing to watch, so if I’m not think­ing about my own race I’m watch­ing an­other one. You can see what the mood is, see how the track is run­ning, what works, whether peo­ple are get­ting rolled on the line or if they’re lead­ing it out. But I’m also a fan and want to be watch­ing the rac­ing.

When did you know you wanted to be a pro­fes­sional cy­clist?

I never had that epiphany mo­ment, it grad­u­ally hap­pened. I think there are a lot of women who never thought they could be able to be a full-time cy­clist, or if they did that it would be a strug­gle. So it was never re­ally an am­bi­tion, it was just some­thing I wanted to do for as long as pos­si­ble un­til I had to get a real job. What bike or piece of kit did you al­ways lust af­ter as a young cy­clist?

I was far more in­ter­ested in kit when I was younger be­cause you’re spend­ing your own very lim­ited money. Now it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent, you get what you’re given. I re­ally, re­ally wanted a spe­cific pair of shoes, but I could never af­ford them be­cause they were just ex­tor­tion­ate.

Who has been the most im­por­tant per­son in shap­ing your ca­reer?

At Maindy Fly­ers, Alan Davis gave me a good mind­set. His at­ti­tude was that you’ve got to try very hard, you’ve got to put a lot of ef­fort in, you need to try and do it right, but there’s no point in do­ing it if you’re not en­joy­ing it, so find the cor­ner of the sport that works for you and that you en­joy the most and give ev­ery­thing to that.

If you weren’t a bi­cy­cle rider what would you be?

If I had never cy­cled I would prob­a­bly have gone to uni and done a de­gree, I’m not sure which. But now I’ve been able to study along­side cy­cling and take the time to de­cide, I think I would be a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist.

Barker found her niche and rode with it

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