At the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, 23 year old cyclist Katie Archibald completed a hat trick of wins with victories in the Individual Pursuit, Scratch race and Points race. Archibald was the reigning champion of all three races and impressively held on to all of her three crowns.
The Points race win was a dramatic one, as it looked as if Archibald was out of it only for a late surge to power her to victory. Archibald told British Cycling “I thought that race was all over. It was do or die with about ten laps to go — I was doing the maths and I thought maybe I could get the five points for the sprint and then contest the last one, but then you think to yourself, this is the last lap — if you latch on to the pack here, this is your everything. It obviously wasn’t all over, as I still had to mark Emily Kay, but it’s amazing how your mindset just switches — as soon as I latched on, I felt ready to go again.”
It was a success all round for the Archibald family as Katie’s brother John also claimed first. John won his Points race on the Saturday to earn his maiden national crown.
Six-time Olympic Champion Jason Kenny concluded the weekend’s events by winning the team sprint title with teammates Phil Hindes, Ryan Owens and Jack Carlin. In one of his first events back since an extended post-Rio break, Kenny delighted the home crowd with a time of 43:593 in the final.
Two University of Manchester (UoM) students also took part; Rebecca Howard and Rebecca Maynard competed the Team Spring while Maynard also took part in the 500 metres.
Speaking to The Mancunion, the pair commented on their experience of such a big event. Maynard said “The afternoon with the crowd gave an awesome atmosphere whereas the morning was a bit empty. It was really cool to be up with some of the best in the world and I really enjoyed being able to watch as well as compete. It was probably one of the most tiring days of my life. At the velodrome by 7:30am and there until [about] 5pm”
Howard: “Amazing. It’s extraordinary. Knowing that Saturday and Sunday’s nights’ sessions were a sell-out before the weekend even began gave it an extra buzz. Sunday morning’s session, when we did qualifying for team sprint, wasn’t ticketed but was open and free to the public so we enjoyed support from fellow UoM Cycling club members at least!
It’s extraordinary seeing almost the whole Team GB squad out in force, having gold-medal-winning Olympians warming up next to us and competing side-by-side with them. You also get to see all of the development squads, who’s up-and-coming, as well as teams that are bound to be breaking world records within the next year (Team KGF). It’s just so beautiful to watch and a privilege to be a part of it.
Not going to lie: being 0.07s off qualifying for the team sprint semi-finals was a sad moment! At least we weren’t as close as another team, who missed out on a bronze medal by just 0.004s. It’s exhilarating.”
When asked about what they hoped to improve on in the future both mentioned time spent in the gym. “I need to improve my power which will require more weights training” was Maynard’s response while Howard said “you can always be fitter and more powerful as a cyclist. So lots more time out on the road and in a gym!”
Howard concluded by speaking about how easy it is to get into the sport: “Rebecca [Maynard] is an old hand at this but I only started cycling (as an adult) when I started my degree and have had my own bike for less than two years so it’s definitely something that can be started afresh when studying here. The track facilities are right on our doorstep!”