Katie Archibald a 'really exciting prospect', says British Cycling chief Sir Dave Brailsford
Sir Dave Brailsford has described Katie Archibald as a "really exciting prospect".
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 04/11/13 1:51pm
Archibald was part of the Great Britain women's team pursuit quartet that won gold and set a new world-best time at the European Track Championships in the Netherlands a fortnight ago and then followed that success up with a performance Brailsford lauded as "super" at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester last weekend.
Representing the Scottish Braveheart team, the pink-haired and pierced-lipped Glaswegian claimed a surprise silver medal in the scratch race and then added bronze with a superb showing in the individual pursuit the following day.
They were remarkable results for a rider who only took up cycling three years ago and is still so raw that she has not yet fully mastered the art of riding safely in a bunch.
"How can you not be impressed?" Brailsford said. "She has stepped up and she delivered. You have got to imagine that someone who has come into the sport now, that their head room has to be [huge]. A really exciting prospect, I would say."
Archibald was a swimmer for the majority of her school years but tried out cycle racing for the first time when her father suggested she enter grass-track events at the Highland Games.
She swiftly began notching up wins further afield and her success on the Scottish scene brought her to the attention of British Cycling.
So impressed have the likes of Brailsford and right-hand man Shane Sutton been, they have now signed Archibald on professional terms - a decision her performances at the European championships and Track World Cup more than justified.
Sutton said: "We saw this girl and we dropped an Olympic champion to give her a ride in the qualifying round [at the European Championships], then dropped another Olympic champion to give her a ride in the final. And she broke the world record. No one has ever heard of her.
"Off that, she has come here [the Track World Cup] and took her chance in the scratch race, and rode really well. She needs those experiences."
Experience is the only thing Archibald appears to lack. In the women's points race at the European championships, she struggled with the hectic nature of the event and finished 15th, but learnt the lessons and used them to claim a second place at the scratch race in the Track World Cup.
"The difference in this scratch race here and the one [points race] in the Europeans was massive," Sutton added. "[At the Europeans] she was looking around everywhere, knocking everyone off. She looks a completely different bike rider."
Sutton was also quick to point out that Archibald's rapid, rags-to-riches rise - she once earned £70 for winning a race in Scotland - is an example that young riders do not have to be with British Cycling from an early age to achieve top-level success.
"That goes to the point we have always tried to make here: that the door is always open," he said.