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Elisa Longo Borghini: “If I’m in the game I just like to play!”

Ben Atkins : 15th March 2018 12:25 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini is hoping to build on the form that carried her to third place in the wet and muddy Strade Bianche two weeks ago as she takes on her local race at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio. The 26-year-old Italian Champion won the 2013 edition of the Trofeo Binda in even worse conditions, on a course that is a short ferry ride across Lago Maggiore from her home in Verbania.

“I’m looking forward to Sunday because it’s going to be a very hard race,” she said. “It’s going to be wet, like Strade Bianche, or maybe even worse. It may even be as bad as in 2013, and the forecast is for only 4 degrees. The winter doesn’t seem to want to go away this year!”

The 131km race sets out from nearby Taino, on a long loop that takes in the the climb to Cunardo, before four laps of a familiar 18km circuit based on the climb to Orino that has proved so decisive in the past. With her main targets later in the spring, Longo Borghini will start the race somewhere off her best condition, but – as in the Strade Bianche – expects to play a role in the race as usual.

“I’m not at the top, but I’m feeling fine,” she said. “But as I’ve said before, if I’m in the game I just like to play. For sure if I’m there I’m going to be active, and probably there will be more teammates of mine up there, so we can try to make a good race together.

“I just hope for a fun race, as it was at Strade Bianche!” she laughed. “Well, it wasn’t really fun, but it was okay – I liked it!”

Longo Borghini will be joined by the climbing talents of Japanese Champion Eri Yonamine, Austrian Champion Martina Ritter and French Time Trial Champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot. Cordon-Ragot in particular will be extra determined after having been forced out of Strade Bianche after being brought down by a crash.

“I think Audrey is in very good shape,” Longo Borghini said. “I think her hand is now recovered and she will for sure be hungry because she had a bit of a bittersweet taste from Strade Bianche, after her crash, because she was feeling very well. I think she can do a very good job on Sunday.”

The team will be completed by former Swedish Champion Emilia Fahlin and World and Olympic Track Champion Elinor Barker, who makes her first appearance on the road for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling since her previous spell with the team in 2014. The 23-year-old Welsh star has recently competed on the track, at the World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, but will hopefully be able to translate that form for this sort of course.

“We will see, for sure she can do a good job for helping with the team with positioning and chasing down breakaways,” Longo Borghini said. “Even though I hope we are in the breakaways and we don’t have to chase it down. But yeah, I think for sure she’s a champion and she knows how to race.”

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Trofeo Alfredo Binda-Comune di Cittiglio
Elinor Barker
(Great Britain), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Martina Ritter (Austria), Eri Yonamine (Japan)

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Kirsten Wild makes road debut for Wiggle High5 in Ronde van Drenthe

Ben Atkins : 9th March 2018 9:14 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s three-time Track World Champion Kirsten Wild will make her road debut in the black and orange jersey in this Sunday’s Ronde van Drenthe, a race where she has twice finished second. The 35-year-old Dutchwoman took rainbow jerseys in the Scratch Race, the Omnium and the Points Race in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, last week and will now look to apply some of her incredible track form to the road.

“I didn’t think too much about it. My target was really last weekend [at the Track World Championships],” Wild said. “I hope for some form and I will be able to survive in Drenthe.

“The team showed already a really strong performance in Strade Bianche, so we will have good form, so I hope we have a good race as a team,” Wild added. “I think we have some opportunities because the girls showed that they are really strong already.”

Having spent much of her offseason preparing for Apeldoorn, however, Wild has no idea how she will fare in what can be one of the toughest one-day road races in the women’s calendar.

“So maybe I’m a good helper, I don’t know, we have to see I think,” she added.

While the Ronde van Drenthe’s main obstacles consist of the region’s own style of cobbles and the famous landscaped landfill site of the VAM-berg, the race can be shaped by many other conditions, particularly the typical early spring weather of the eastern Netherlands.

“If it’s cold, Drenthe is a really hard race, and windy conditions makes it really difficult,” Wild said. “And it’s long race, that’s the most difficult part I think. It’s almost 150km, or more, and that will be the hardest point. I feel in really good shape, but it’s different to do a track race to a five hour, cold conditions race. I think I have to see. I don’t know. No expectations. Only hope!”

Although Wild has spent time with her new teammates in training camps, her concentration on the track means that this will be the first time she will line up at the start of a race with them.

“I’m really looking forward to racing with the girls,” Wild smiled. “I’ve had so many nice messages from them this weekend. When I see the pictures of the Italian races it looks really cool. I’m really happy to be part of it and it finally starts.

“Sometimes you think ‘I’m really looking forward to the races, and to be with the new team,’ and finally it will start!”

Wild will be joined on the start line by fellow Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling debutant Lisa Brennauer, who also rode in Apeldoorn last week. The 30-year-old German comes to the race with the confidence gained from breaking national records in both the Individual and Team Pursuit. Their fellow track rider, former Scratch Race World Champion Rachele Barbieri will make her European debut in the team colours after impressing in Australia in January.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Scandinavians, Sweden’s Emilia Fahlin and Denmark’s Julie Leth will provide the same powerful support to the team that they did for Elisa Longo Borghini in last week’s Strade Bianche, while former two-time junior World Champion Lucy Garner will provide an additional sprint option in the race.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Ronde van Drenthe
Rachele Barbieri
(Italy), Lisa Brennauer (Germany), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Lucy Garner (Great Britain), Julie Leth (Denmark), Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)

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Kirsten Wild takes incredible third World title with Points Race win

Ben Atkins : 4th March 2018 5:27 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild has closed an incredible World Track Championships, in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, with a third Rainbow Jersey as she took a dominant victory in the Points Race. The 35-year-old from nearby Almelo won five of the ten sprints, and took points on two of the others, to finish with a total of 49 points, six ahead of the United States’ Jennifer Valente, and 19 ahead of Canada’s Jasmin Duehring.

“It’s amazing. I couldn’t wish for this before,” she said afterwards. “I never thought about this before. I said to my boyfriend that I hoped I would win one jersey, and now I come home with three!”

The Points Race victory follows a Scratch Race win on the Championships’ opening day, a win in Thursday’s Omnium and a Silver Medal in the Madison on Saturday.

“I think the Scratch just all went really well, and the Omnium was also okay,” Wild explained. “In the Madison we were a bit surprised by the British girls, with [Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Katie Archibald]; they were so fast. They had a really good technique, so we were a bit shocked.

“Today I didn’t know what to expect. I felt a bit tired from all the races, but in the race I thought ‘I feel okay.’”

There was a big, mid-race attack from Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s defending champion Elinor Barker – who had sat out Saturday’s Madison after a crash in the Omnium – which Wild followed with a number of others. This break eventually came to nothing, but the Dutchwoman was later able to gain a lap with several of the other favourites.

“My tactics were to try to get points – easy points – like second is also okay in the sprints, and if it’s necessary I have to be able to follow a group,” Wild explained. “I just gambled a bit on both and then halfway we just decided if we go for a lap or go for the points. And now it was go for the points.

“It was just the group after the sprint. There was just a gap in the peloton, it was not really by an attack, it was just by a gap and all the favourites watched each other and controlled each other.

“I think a few times Elinor had to chase, and some of the girls had to chase, but I tried to stay a bit in the front so I didn’t have to put too much energy into chasing groups.”

Wild winning the penultimate sprint made it mathematically impossible for Valente to catch up on the final finish line, and left no time for her to take a lap.

Having previously won the Scratch Race World title in 2015, along with several National and European titles, Wild leaves Apeldoorn with three Rainbow Jerseys. To achieve this on her home track, with her family and friends cheering her with “Wild van Kirsten” t-shirts made it all the more special.

“It’s really, really cool,” she laughed. “When I heard that the Worlds would be in Apeldoorn, I thought that must be so amazing. We had it in 2011 also, so I knew a bit what to expect, but it was more than I expected. It was really special.

“Especially the last ten laps of the Points Race!” she added. “I was already sure for the win, and I think I could only smile, it was a really crazy feeling!”

1. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)

2. Jennifer Valente (United States)
3. Jasmin Duehring (Canada)

12. Elinor Barker (Great Britain)

Photo: UCI

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Katie Archibald wins World Championship Madison Gold

Ben Atkins : 3rd March 2018 9:31 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Katie Archibald has taken the Gold Medal in the Madison, in the UCI Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, in a Great Britain team with Emily Nelson. The British pair won eight of the twelve sprints in the 120 lap race, amassing a total of 50 points, to beat the Netherlands pair into second place. Italy won a close battle with Denmark for the Bronze Medal.

Riding as part of the Netherlands team, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild was denied a third World title of her home World Championships, along with former black and orange rider Amy Pieters.

“Our strength is our speed, so we said we were going to go into every sprint and capitalise,” Archibald said afterwards. “We didn’t want to take a lap, and we were going to mark out every lap, and we want to win every sprint.

“We tried for twelve, and eight’s good enough isn’t it!” she laughed.

After the Netherlands took the first sprint, the British duo promptly won the next eight to move into what was to be an unassailable lead. There were several attempts to break away and take a lap over the field, notably from Wild and Pieters, but Archibald and Nelson were able to close it down each time and win the subsequent sprint.

A late attack from Denmark was enough to win the final, ten point sprint, but Archibald responded and took the six points on offer for second place to take the British total to a round 50.

“It’s fantastic. Everybody goes in the same joyous wave in this Olympic cycle,” Archibald said of the event that will be added to the programme in Tokyo 2020. “The women’s Madison is getting so much attention, so I’m grateful to be part of that big step forward.”

1. Great Britain (Katie Archibald, Emily Nelson)
2. Netherlands (Kirsten Wild, Amy Pieters)
3. Italy (Letizia Paternoster, Maria Giulia Confalonieri)

Photo: UCI

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Elisa Longo Borghini third in tough, muddy Strade Bianche

Ben Atkins : 3rd March 2018 4:33 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini took an outstanding third place in the Strade Bianche, her third podium finish in the new Italian Classic in its four editions, on the iconic Piazza del Campo, in the Tuscan city of Siena. The Italian Champion, resplendent in her green, white and red jersey, was one of the most aggressive riders in the closing stages of the race, but was just unable to follow the pace set by Olympic Champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) on the final section of white road.

Longo Borghini was joined by Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) in the final kilometres, but was dropped by the former Polish Champion on the final climb to the finish.

“It was a bit of an epic day for me, because I had a puncture and of course we had the last car [in the convoy] so I couldn’t find anyone to change my wheel,” Longo Borghini said at the finish. “Finally my teammate came, then I had to chase back to the peloton.”

The Italian Champion was at the front when the decisive move was made, and she and van der Breggen escaped the front of what was already a very select peloton on the steep Colle Pinzuto section of white road with around 20km to go.

A technical problem meant Longo Borghini was unable to stop the Dutch rider from pulling away, however, and van der Breggen went on to build her winning lead. Niewiadoma attacked across to join the Italian Champion, and was strong enough to pull away on the 16% flagstoned streets of Siena to the finish.

“I had a few little mechanicals during the race, but in the end I was alright. I’m just a little disappointed that I couldn’t go with Anna to the end. Something got stuck in my wheel and I lost her, and when you lose van der Breggen you never come back!

“She’s so strong. It’s her way of riding. She’s amazing.”

1. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM)
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

Photo credit: Velofocus

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Kirsten Wild dominates World Championship Omnium to take second Rainbow Jersey

Ben Atkins : 2nd March 2018 9:56 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Kirsten Wild dominated the UCI World Championship Omnium, from beginning to end, to secure a second Rainbow Jersey of the Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. The 35-year-old from nearby Almelo took the lead early on with victory in the Scratch Race – an event that she won her first World title of the week two days before – and never looked threatened for the remainder of the four-race event.

Wild finished the event with a total of 121 points, with the Silver Medal taken by former road World Champion Amelie Dideriksen of Denmark with 112. Canada’s Rushlee Buchanan took the Bronze Medal with 106.

“I’m super, super happy!” Wild said afterwards. “[The crowd gave me so much energy. I want to say ‘thank you’ to everybody!

“I’ve trained so hard for this, but so many people have helped me. It’s really amazing that it’s all worked out today.”

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elinor Barker was the first rider to challenge Wild’s dominance with a victory in the 30-lap Tempo Race. The 23-year-old Great Britain rider attacked with six laps to go, taking the final six sprints, to win the race and move up into a provisional Silver Medal position.

A heavy crash in the Elimination Race, however, affected Barker’s chances. Wild won the third event, but Barker could only finish seventh and slipped into third overall.

“I think that’s the way to win an Omnium,” Wild said. “I think that if you’re at the back you don’t win, so that’s the only tactic that works!”

In the final Points Race Wild was able to monitor her nearest rivals as those further down the standings took the points. Dideriksen took a late lap to move into the Silver Medal position, while Buchanan took two. Although both riders were now within striking distance of Wild, however, the Dutchwoman never looked troubled and confirmed her victory with third in the final sprint.

1. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)
2. Amelie Dideriksen (Denmark)
3. Rushlee Buchanan (New Zealand)
6. Elinor Barker (Great Britain)

Photo: UCI

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Elisa Longo Borghini: Strade Bianche “was one of the most beautiful victories of my career”

Ben Atkins : 1st March 2018 11:44 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini will start the Strade Bianche race on Saturday – the opening event of the 2018 UCI Women’s WorldTour – wearing number one, as the winner of last year’s edition, pinned to her Italian Champion’s jersey. The 26-year-old Piemontese outpaced the best riders in the World on the final climb to the Piazza del Campo, in the centre of the iconic Tuscan city of Siena, after having battled over some of the region’s famous “White Roads.”

“Last year I think it was one of the most beautiful victories of my career,” Longo Borghini said. “I don’t want to forget how nice it was, because it was just a good feeling. It was a victory made in my country, and on one of the most spectacular arrivals in the calendar, and that’s it.”

This year Longo Borghini will have the extra honour of carrying the green, white and red colours of her national flag around what has already earned its place as one of the Classics of the sport of cycling. Despite aiming to peak her form later in the spring, she will undoubtedly be one of the most visible riders in the peloton.

With snow currently covering much of the region, and rain forecast for Saturday’s race, the Italian Champion could find the conditions suiting her well.

“I’m looking forward to racing because it’s always a nice race, despite the weather,” she said. “I feel fine, my preparation went fine, and now it’s all about spinning the legs as fast as you can. So yeah, I’m happy to race.”

Longo Borghini made her 2018 debut in last Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and, although she has yet to reach her peak condition this spring, was highly visible in her distinctive jersey, on the toughest climbs of the race.

“Just because I’m not in my top form it doesn’t mean I’m not in the game,” she smiled. “It’s just that I’m not on my super shape and I don’t expect anything from the races. I’m going with my mind really free to race. I’m always keen to race when I can, so I enjoyed myself, it was really nice!”

With such a display in Flanders’ opening Classic it could be assumed that Longo Borghini had already reached her top form, or was ahead of where she needs to be for her ideal preparation. The Italian Champion denies this, however, and knows that there is much more to come from her already excellent condition.

“For sure I don’t feel too good, I just feel normal!” she laughed. “I feel okay, I’m just going to the race to enjoy it and to try to do the best for my team and for me. And I hope that whoever gets a result gets a good result.”

Longo Borghini will be joined in the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team by French Time Trial Champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who sacrificed her own race last year as she gave her bike to her close Italian friend after a mid-race crash. The 28-year-old Breton is in fine form herself, following a good winter at home and in Australia, and will hope to get the opportunity to fight for her own chance this time.

Alongside Longo Borghini and Cordon-Ragot will be the Japanese and Austrian Champions, Eri Yonamine and Martina Ritter, who both excel on the type of hilly terrain that characterises much of the Strade Bianche course. They will also be joined by the Scandinavian duo of former Swedish and Danish Champions Emilia Fahlin and Julie Leth, whose power will be invaluable to their team leaders.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for Strade Bianche
Audrey Cordon-Ragot
(France), Emilia Fahlin (Sweden), Julie Leth (Denmark), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Martina Ritter (Austria), Eri Yonamine (Japan)

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Kirsten Wild takes spectacular home victory in World Championship Scratch Race

Ben Atkins : 28th February 2018 8:17 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s has taken a spectacular victory in the UCI World Championship Track Race on her home velodrome in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. The 35-year-old Dutchwoman chased down a two-rider breakaway with five laps of the 10km race remaining, then rode alone for more than a kilometre to take cross the line solo. Such was the margin of victory, in a race that more usually ends in a sprint, that Wild was able to sit up and celebrate with half a lap remaining.

Former black and orange rider Jolien D’hoore took the silver medal for Belgium, with 2016 road World Champion Amelie Dideriksen taking bronze for Denmark.

Wiggle High5’s Katie Archibald (Great Britain) took fifth place, while defending champion Rachele Barbieri (Italy) was ninth.

“It’s really, really nice to win before my own people, on my own track. It’s amazing!” Wild told the UCI afterwards. “It’s the best riders in the World that are competing, and I can’t believe that I won with a solo. It’s really cool.”

As a sprinter Will could have been forgiven for hiding herself in the bunch and relying on her fast finish, but the late break – and maybe the lift given her by the roaring Dutch crowd – meant that she was to take a far more spectacular and memorable victory.

“Actually my plan was to stay really calm in the peloton and wait for the sprint, but it didn’t go according to my plan!” she laughed. “But it worked really well!”

This World title is Wild’s second in the Scratch Race, with the Dutchwoman having taken the rainbow jersey in Paris, in 2015.

This is amazing to win here in Apeldoorn, I have no words.

1. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands)

2. Jolien D’hoore (Belgium)
3. Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark)

6. Katie Archibald (Great Britain)
9. Rachele Barbieri (Italy)

Photo: UCI

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Elisa Longo Borghini: “I hope to be useful for my team” in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Ben Atkins : 23rd February 2018 9:20 am : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini will start her 2018 road campaign in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The 26-year-old Italian Champion lit up last year’s edition of the Belgian season-opener as part of a two-rider break that escaped after the climb of the mythical Paterberg. She finished the race in fifth but felt satisfied that her condition was perfect for her upcoming targets, and duly won the Strade Bianche the following weekend.

“I’m feeling fine,” Longo Borghini said. “My shape is not yet super so I’m using this race as training. I hope the team can be good because we have a strong one. I don’t think I would like to be the leader on Saturday because for sure I’m not in the shape for winning this race. I hope to be useful for my team, rather than win the race myself.”

Rather than aiming specifically at the early-season races of Flanders and Italy, Longo Borghini’s spring will be built around reaching her optimum condition in time for the three “Ardennes Classics” of the Amstel Gold Race, la Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“The main goal is that one and I will try to be at my best for the middle of April,” she confirmed. “I’m trying to find my good legs here.”

Although she will not be approaching the Flemish Classics at the top of her condition, Longo Borghini’s style will inevitably mean that she will spend much of her time at the front of races. In her new full-tricolore Italian Champion’s jersey she is sure to stand out, as so many Italian Champions have done in the Northern Classics of the past.

“I think my tricolore is beautiful this year,” she smiled. “Champion System made a good thing and I will be proud to wear it until June. I will try to show it as much as I can in the races.

“I will try. You never know!”

Having spent a quiet winter training Longo Borghini has managed to avoid illness and injury over the closed season and begins her first race of the year looking to build her condition throughout the Classics of the spring.

“I’m healthy,” she confirmed. “That’s the most important thing because last year I was a bit plagued by flu and colds. Right now I’m feeling fine. I had a nice training camp in Gran Canaria and my winter has been pretty relaxed; not many hours in the beginning, and now I’m just building up a bit.”

Longo Borghini will be joined in Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad by close friend Audrey Cordon-Ragot, who spent much of her winter building her condition in cyclocross before captaining the Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team in its Australia campaign in January. The French Time Trial Champion took fourth in the gruelling Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, and will be looking to build on the confidence of that result.

Austrian Champion Martina Ritter will make her debut for the black and orange team on Saturday, alongside former Danish Champion Julie Leth, with the team completed by British sisters Grace and Lucy Garner.

The same team will start Sunday’s Omloop van het Hageland, with the exception of Longo Borghini, who will return to Italy to prepare for her Strade Bianche defence. She will be replaced by another member of the black and orange Australia squad in the shape of Japanese Champion Eri Yonamine, who will make her European debut for Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Grace Garner (Great Britain), Lucy Garner (Great Britain), Julie Leth (Denmark), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), Martina Ritter (Austria)

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for Omloop van het Hageland
Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Grace Garner (Great Britain), Lucy Garner (Great Britain), Julie Leth (Denmark), Martina Ritter (Austria), Eri Yonamine (Japan)

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Katie Archibald dominates individual events at British National Track Championships

Ben Atkins : 29th January 2018 1:57 pm : News

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Katie Archibald dominated the individual events at the British National Track Championships as she successfully defended her titles in the Individual Pursuit, Scratch Race and Points Race, and took a further Bronze Medal in the Sprint. The 23-year-old Scot took a red, white and blue banded jersey on each of the three days of the Championships despite having sat out the recent World Cup event in Minsk, Belarus.

“I’ve just been training at home,” Archibald explained. “Been getting a bit of turbo time. I think that’s the British secret; you get turbo-fit, and that translates to the track very nicely.”

As an Olympic Champion, an former World Champion, in the Team Pursuit, and the reigning Omnium World Champion, Archibald is acknowledged as one of the top endurance riders in the World. She entered the Sprint as a means to improve her performance in the events, however, as she explained.

“About three years ago Laura Trott and I decided to enter the Keirin for the first time because we thought it would be good Scratch Race practice,” Archibald said. “Gradually we became competitive, and the way the Omnium is going the best in the World are the fastest in the World. You need that top end speed to be successful in the Omnium now, and I thought that the Sprint was a good way to test that.

“It was just a bit of fun, and it went very well,” she laughed. “I guess I went in with low expectations and once I got a taste for it I realised that I really would fancy doing well. Once I was through to the semi-finals and there was actually a taste of getting a medal, I was almost more excited than I am for my normal races because the nerves weren’t there.”

Archibald’s Championship concluded with a spectacular victory in the Points Race, where her only real option was to lap the field in the closing stages of an exciting race.

“I think I tried too hard. I still feel ill this morning!” she laughed. “It was seriously tough. My brother won the men’s Points Race the day before and his had been similar with him being out trying to get a solo lap for a long time. He was away for two sprints, so he was out for at least 12 laps. Mine was similar – I was out for maybe nine or ten – and my brother was here on the sideline shouting at me that I’m going to make it, I’m going to make it.

“I started losing ground at one point, and they were getting further and further away, and I was desperate for somebody to shout out ‘Can it! Can it!’ It was going to take everything.

“It wasn’t the only way to win,” she concluded. “The maths meant that I could go back and win the final sprint, but that would also rely on somebody else doing badly. It was all or nothing really, and then I could barely walk!”

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