KATIE Archibald thought she had blown it before claiming her first Track Cycling World Championships individual title with victory in the omnium on the third day of competition yesterday.
The 23-year-old from Milngavie won the opening two of four disciplines, but was clinging on by the end of the concluding points race. But she finished the day in a world champion’s rainbow jersey to compliment her blue hair.
“I thought it was home time,” said Archibald, who won ahead of Holland’s Kirsten Wild and Amy Cure of Australia. “There was a point where I kept chasing. I put way too much into the chase watching Cure. And Wild just kept swinging up, swinging up. So I thought ‘Well, I’m just going to have to chase’.
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“And then she attacks and I thought ‘Of course she attacks. That’s the right thing to do! I’m going to lose.’ “For it to happen the way it did, thinking I was either going to be last or first, was very confusing emotionally.”
Despite the off-the-bike turmoil, Britain won six of 10 Olympic track titles in Rio – Archibald was part of the gold medal-winning team pursuit squad – and now the youthful team has three medals from three days of competition in Hong Kong.
After Elinor Barker’s silver and Chris Latham’s bronze in their respective scratch races, Archibald reigned supreme as she emulated Laura Kenny as world champion.
With the two-time Olympic omnium champion absent pregnant Archibald was given an individual focus. The omnium has been revised since Rio, to feature four bunch events over one day. Archibald won the opening scratch race and the tempo race before a fifth-placed finish in the elimination behind Cure saw them enter the 80-lap (20km) points race level.
Archibald scored seven points in the first two sprints and then Cure went on the attack her effort was in vain as it came down to the final sprint, where double points were available.
Archibald finished fourth for two points to do enough to win with 123 points. Wild finished ahead of Cure to take silver and the Australian had to settle for bronze. It was te Scot’s second world title after a team pursuit success in Cali, Colombia, in 2014 at her first Track World Championships.
Archibald added: “People always say if you win you somehow get energy. I don’t have that. I crossed the line and it still hurts.”
Olympic silver medallist Callum Skinner earlier exited the men’s sprint competition with a second round defeat to Max Niederlag. Ryan Owens advanced and will meet the German in today’s best-of-three quarter-finals.