Records tumbled as the Archibald siblings dominated day one of the HSBC UK | National Track Championships in Manchester today.
The championships got off to a truly sensational start, as John Archibald smashed the sea-level individual pursuit world-best time he set in Switzerland just prior to Christmas, posting a time of 4:09.584 – the second quickest time in history - in his qualifying heat.
He then took on HUUB Wattbike team-mate Dan Bigham in the final, stopping the race in the final kilometre by catching Bigham to claim his second individual national title. Kyle Gordon took bronze over Jonny Wale.
Afterwards, the Scot said:
“I didn’t expect to do such a quick time here, although it was in the back of my mind. The conditions we had in Switzerland were probably better than here, but I was fresher and more motivated here, and so it proved.
“In the final I was thinking about the time, but as I was catching Dan I was slowing down. I was on pace for a good time, but I don’t think I was going to beat the time from this morning.”
In the women’s event, Katie Archibald claimed her third consecutive national title, recording a time of 3:27.635 to get the better of fellow Scot Neah Evans. Ellie Dickinson claimed bronze, beating Manon Lloyd in a time of 3:31.012
“I was really pleased with the time. My brother was saying that I was really rocking around the bike in the last 500 metres, which usually means that people are empty, but I was getting faster, so something has gone wrong there! But I’m really happy that I had that at the end.
The Olympic champion also took home a medal in the sprint, claiming bronze ahead of Blaine Ridge-Davies. Sophie Capewell upgraded the silver medal she won last year by taking gold in what was a fantastic tussle with 2017 champion Jess Crampton, who was forced to settle for silver.
In the para-cycling tandem time trial, Neil Fachie and Matt Rotherham recorded a world record time as they stopped the clock at 59.278. Due to the factored nature of the mixed event, Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott took gold, while James Ball and Pete Mitchell, who also dipped below the magic minute mark, took bronze.
Later in the day, Fachie and Rotherham earned national jerseys to go with their world record, as they won the B flying 200m. They had familiar company on the podium; Thornhill and Scott took silver and Ball and Mitchell bronze.
World records also fell in the factored C1-5 flying 200m, as gold medallist Jody Cundy broke his own C4 record with a mark of 10.485, while Jon-Allan Butterworth won silver in a C5 world record of 10.673. Blaine Hunt completed the podium.
The first national title of the weekend went to Paralympic champion Kadeena Cox, who won the mixed C1-5 ahead of Jody Cundy and Fin Graham.
Cox, who took a prolonged break from the sport after her triumph in Rio, said:
“I’m just enjoying being back on the bike, which is so important. I’m feeling relatively confident (ahead of the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships) – I’m happy with the way my training is going as I get back into it.”
In the men’s team sprint, a strong North West Region team won gold. Olympic champions Phil Hindes and Jason Kenny were joined by Jack Carlin and Ryan Owens, and progressed serenely through the rounds before the combination of Hindes, Owens and Carlin defeated the Slingshot trio of Alistair Fielding, Lewis Stewart and Hamish Turnbull in the final.
Black Line A’s team of Niall Monks, Pete Mitchell, Matthew Roper and Alex Spratt took bronze.
The action continues tomorrow, when Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker will do battle in the scratch race, and Jason Kenny will look to add the sprint title to his team sprint crown. The men’s kilo and points, women’s keirin and team pursuit and para-cycling individual pursuit titles will also be decided.
The racing will be streamed in its entirety via britishcycling.org.uk.