On the verge of the winter track cycling season, Olympic team pursuit champion Katie Archibald says she is determined not to fall into the trap of relying on her Rio experiences as she and her team-mates target further success in Tokyo next summer.
Archibald, who won Olympic gold alongside Laura Kenny, Joanna Rowsell-Shand and Elinor Barker in 2016, has remained a mainstay of the British team - picking up world, European and Commonwealth titles - in the three years since.
Now, with the months quickly ticking down to another Olympic Games, Archibald says she is keen to avoid the complacency that may potentially come with such an impressive medal record.
“I hear myself sometimes referencing the Rio Olympic cycle,” she admits. “Our preparations for that Games weren’t perfect, but we did win, so it can be quite an easy barometer to use in terms of measuring how you feel against this time four years ago.
“I think that’s an error, though. Obviously I’m a different athlete, we’re a different team and we’ve got different aspirations, so it’s important not to just try to repeat yourself.”
One of the big changes ahead of this Games – where Kenny and Barker join Archibald in again being in contention for selection – is the introduction of the Madison, a new Olympic event on the women’s side, which takes the number of endurance gold medals on offer to three.
Post-Rio, Archibald has won world titles in both the Madison and the omnium, but with the team pursuit also a continued focus, the Scot has a clear outline of her own personal aims for Tokyo.
She continues: “I really want to be in that team pursuit squad and I really want to have a Madison place. I’ve shifted my focus from the omnium to ensure that the other two are realistic ambitions, because we are a nation that aims for gold medals. I still feel good about that decision.”
As ever, the winter track season will include a series of Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup events, followed by the world championships, which this year take part at the end of February and will represent the final major international track event before Tokyo.
The second round of the world cup series takes place between November 8 and 10 at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Archibald’s native Scotland. She admits that the prospect of competing in front of a home crowd as Olympic preparations step up is a tantalising one.
“It’s great to go back,” she says. “There’s a sense of pride, but also an added sense of pressure, but that makes you bring your A-game.
“I’m excited to get into some Madison racing in across the world cup series, because there really aren’t too many opportunities left to do that before Tokyo. Racing against the best in the world really changes the dynamic, and it puts a really high value on these opportunities.”