Olympic champion Katie Archibald is making her first venture into six-day racing by heading to London next month.
The Scot won team pursuit gold in Rio alongside Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell-Shand and Elinor Barker, setting a world record in the process, but now wants to experience something a little different and said Six Day London was the perfect place to do it.
This year’s event will see women compete in an 11-part omnium competition, split over the final three nights, and Archibald is anticipating a high level of competition.
“It’s pretty cool to be racing Six Day London, I didn’t ride last year but it seems like the women’s programme is great, so I’m really excited for it,” said the 22-year-old.
“It should attract a lot of other big contenders, and make for some really competitive racing. It is top-level track racing in the UK. It has become habit to go around Europe for the best racing, but this is a British event, right on our doorstep, so I’m super keen.
“I’ve ridden in London quite a few times and you definitely notice the sanctity of a home crowd.
“Any of the velodromes in the UK, and even in Rio, there is always lots of British support.
“Track racing in Britain, because it’s been so successful for GB, the whole crowd interest is just huge.”
Archibald will experience some more of that crowd interest on Saturday, when she competes in the second round of the Revolution Series at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow.
Fellow Scot Callum Skinner, who won team sprint gold in Rio with team-mates Jason Kenny and Phil Hindes, will also be in action. He will be racing against Hindes in the omnium. It is the first time Archibald or Skinner have raced in Scotland since Rio.
Archibald will be riding once again for team Podium Ambition p/b Club La Santa as she did at Round 1 in the new Elite Women’s Championship. Podium Ambition finished second at Round 1, something they will be looking to improve on in Glasgow.
Looking forward to racing in the English capital next month, Archibald praised Six Day London for giving women’s track racing a showcase.
“Riding for an omnium is a different way to train, and a different way to race, than for a team pursuit, but it’s exciting and I’m keen for the challenge,” said the 2015 European elimination race champion.
“I’ve never ridden a six-day before, it’s more dominated by the men, you don’t get huge opportunities for the women’s racing, so this will be over three days and I’m really looking forward to my taste of it.
“The demand is there for women’s races, so well done to London for stepping up and providing that opportunity.”
And the Olympic champion is not taking Six Day London lightly: Archibald is already back on the track and in training – although there may be a little something extra in her kit bag than before Rio.
“The Olympic champion thing sounds weird, but I’m certainly used to the medal – I barely leave the house without it now,” she said.
“It’s always in a sock in my pocket, ready for somebody to say ‘so have you got the medal?’. I stayed for the whole thing, we finished racing on the 13th but I stayed for another nine days until the closing ceremony, to see some of the other competitions.
“It was pretty cool, especially just be ing out in Rio. It was pretty much one big party.”
Six Day London takes place between 25-30 October 2016 at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Tickets on sale now at www.sixday.com