Katie Archibald applauds Madison inclusion at Olympics

World and Olympic champion Katie Archibald has defended the inclusion of a women's Madison race in the programme for the next Olympic Games, amid criticism of the event.

Katie Archibald took the first-ever global womens gold medal in the Madison with Manon Lloyd. Picture: Getty.

The International Olympic Committee recently reintroduced the race into their men’s track cycling schedule for the Tokyo 2020 Games, with a women’s event also being included for the first time.

Madison was dropped from the Olympics at both London and Rio but is back, and with the event now being raced by women at World Cup and World Championship level, Archibald was pleased with the decision.

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“The women’s Madison often gets criticism for not being at the same level as the men’s, but we’re sat there in a chicken and egg situation – give us the races so that we can prove that we can do it,” said the world omnium champion, during Women’s Sport Week.

“To be on the world stage on television, to be out there to show other women and other girls that this is how we race, can get people more involved in the sport.”

The Scot took the first-ever global women’s gold medal in the Madison when she and Manon Lloyd won at the Glasgow World Cup last year.

Archibald, Olympic champion in the team pursuit, is a big advocate of the event – which will also be contested by women for the first time at Six Day London, in October – and is pleased to see more parity being achieved between men’s and women’s racing.

“Women’s Sport Week is a fantastic platform to get us all talking. It acknowledges things people do already know, but wakes you up and shows the accolades and achievements of women all around the world,” she added.

“Most importantly, it shows that they are just like you and I. I like the conversations where young girls can see they can do this, too, and are wanting to get involved. If you compare to the 2008 Olympics, there was disparity with the medals available to the men and women, but now we’re seeing that change and more opportunities, such as the Madison, are coming back and we’re all hitting towards the highest common denominator.

“I’m hugely privileged and elated to be part of that rise.”

It was also announced that Archibald will return to Six Day London to defend the women’s omnium title she won on debut in 2016.

Alongside the new women’s Madison race, the event will also allow female riders to score the UCI points that enable them to qualify for World Cup races – a development Archibald welcomed.

“To have UCI points is really important,” said the Team WNT rider. “We wanted it because it helps us qualify for the World Cup and makes it easier for the event to entice the bigger riders because they can come and get the race experience, while also having everything linking in.

“You have the ticket that says some of the Australian or Italian riders, teams we’ve not seen at London before, can come because they know there are points available. It’s what you turn up on the start line to do, they want to beat you and you want to beat them.”

l Six Day London takes place between 24-29 October 2017 at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Half-term fun, with or without the kids. Tickets on sale now at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/sixdaylondon