Scotland’s Katie Archibald admits it is a ‘dream’ to be part of the Great Britain Cycling Team as she looks to establish herself in the women’s team pursuit squad.
The 19-year-old has been named in the Great Britain line-up for the second round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico from the 5-7 December.
There she hopes to compete in the four-person pursuit event with Laura Trott, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and Elinor Barker also in contention.
Archibald, who only took up competitive cycling in 2011, impressed in her debut for Britain at October’s European championships as she helped the team to gold and a then world record.
She added two more medals when competing for Scotland at the opening round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester in early November – silver in the scratch race and bronze in the individual pursuit.
Archibald’s efforts led Great Britain Cycling Team performance director Sir Dave Brailsford to describe her as an ‘exciting prospect’ and she is keen to build on her early form.
“It definitely was surreal,” said Archibald of her debut for Great Britain in Apeldoorn.
“It’s been such a long ambition, everyone kind of talks about it back home. It’s everyone’s dream to get in the pursuit team.
“I guess legends get built around the team and its riders but it’s in their benefit, because we are working as a team, for everyone to get along and they have just been very welcoming. It’s been an ideal transition.”
The British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme athlete looked on as Trott, Barker, Rowsell and King broke the world record twice in front of a home crowd at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester last month.
The time now stands at 4:19.604 and Archibald hopes to be part of a quartet that can take further seconds off the record in Aguascalientes.
With the velodrome at an altitude of 1,870m, the lower air pressure can help riders achieve faster times.
“I think it’s hard to tell because you do hear mixed reports,” Archibald said. “We’re doing four kilometres so I think the idea is that your lungs aren’t going to give out and go the opposite way.
“I’ve never actually ridden at altitude so I can’t give a report of what it’s going to be like but it’s nice to be optimistic so why not? Let’s go faster.”
The Commonwealth Games hopeful could add to her tally in the solo disciplines, having shared the individual pursuit podium in Manchester with teammate and Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell.
“That was quite cool, it was quite nice to be on the podium and see a teammate that you aspire to replicate really,” Archibald said.
“The silver I got in the scratch race, I’m still shocked by that. It went to a break, about four of us got a lap so it was just like panicking for the bunch sprint and thinking ‘don’t mess it up now’, and I was dead chuffed.”
A spot in the Great Britain team for next February’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Cali, Colombia is now a possibility for the rider from Milngavie, near Glasgow and Archibald has made it a season goal.
“That’s the aim and that’s what I’m essentially hoping for, selection for the world champs,” she said. “I can hopefully stay here training and make the advancements that are needed.”