Olympic champion Katie Archibald headlines the Scottish contingent who have been selected to represent Team GB at the rearranged Tokyo Olympics, which get underway in just over a month’s time.
The Olympic champion from Rio will be joined in the Women’s Team Pursuit by Neah Evans, the Aberdeenshire native making her Olympic debut in the Japanese capital. Whilst Archibald has stood on the top step of the podium at Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European level, Evans is a late comer to the international stage, but has her sights set firmly on Olympic glory on 3rd August.
For Archibald, who was part of that world record setting quartet in Rio five years ago, it’s all about delivering the best possible performance in six weeks’ time, in the that Team Pursuit and the Madison.
Speaking at the team’s media day, Katie said:
“With all the interviews today and people asking ‘what is it you’re targeting’, I’m getting so fired up and planning to go to Tokyo and aspiring to leave with a gold medal in the team pursuit and the madison. It sounds very simple when you squeeze it into a two second soundbite like that, but it’s a big deal! But that’s our dream, that’s our target and that’s our goal – it’s the goal of a lot of other people as well, but we’re preparing as best we can to go and get our hands on it.”
Evans has enjoyed a phenomenal rise to the top of the sport over the last few years, taking European Team Pursuit gold for the last three years, adding the individual crown too in 2020.
On selection for her first Games, she said:
“It’s very special, as you can imagine, and in some sense it hasn’t sunk in 100% purely because of the time we’re living in, with COVID and everything else, so it’s still a little surreal! For British Cycling, the team pursuit has always been the main focus, and we’re so consistent at the Olympics and other major events, so to be part of the team pursuit squad is huge – there’s quite a lot of pressure, but it’s really cool!”
The final Scottish member of the track squad selected by Team GB is sprinter Jack Carlin, who only has an Olympic medal missing from his ever-growing collection. The man from Paisley enjoyed a memorable 2018, winning silver in the sprint event for Scotland at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, before World medals in The Netherlands and a European bronze in his home city to round off the year.
Since then he has gone from strength to strength, and on making the team, Carlin said:
“I’m honoured – it’s been an ambition of mine for 10 years now to represent my country at an Olympics. I’m just super excited - nervous to get out there with everything that’s going on with COVID - but hopefully once we’re out there and settled into the village and our routine, we’ll be able to get on that start line and hopefully come back with something good.”
There is also Scottish interest on the road, as Anna Shackley and Tao Geoghegan Hart will also make their Olympic debuts, the duo both set to contest the Road Race and the Time Trial.
20-year-old Shackley, from Milngavie, started her career at Glasgow Riderz alongside Carlin, with Shackley’s father Ed the lead coach at the club. A transition from track to road over the last couple of years has proved a fruitful move, the youngster showing the kind of form to earn her a seat on the plane to Tokyo.
Although having never previously worn Scottish colours on the international scene, Giro d’Italia winner Geoghegan Hart has indicated his desire, and intention, to represent Scotland at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games next summer. First though, he will tackle the Tour de France and Tokyo 2020.
Commenting on the Scottish Cycling representation on Team GB, Head of Performance and Coaching, David Somerville, said:
“I’m delighted to see such strong Scottish representation on the team for Tokyo, and whilst the athletes have fully earned their places, it’s testament to a lot of other people who have played key roles in helping them get to where they are today.
“Such is the calibre of the athletes selected, I know each and every one of them is going there with a clear focus on their own performance, and I’m confident they’ll deliver a result they can be proud of. I think I speak on behalf of everyone involved in the cycling community in Scotland in saying we’ll be supporting them every step of the way.”