Katie Archibald column: Our strength in depth is outrageous!

"Can you see me teeing this up for a brag about the current strength in depth of GB women’s track cycling? Good, because that’s what’s happening."

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I’m back in Portugal with British Cycling for a pre-Worlds training camp. We’re staying in the same hotel — I’m even in the same room — as on our last camp so it’s got a bit of a Groundhog Day vibe to it, but on a day where all my meals are cooked for me, someone else does my washing, and I get to ride a bike and laugh at funny GIFs on our group chat the whole time. I love it.

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The one big difference is there’s only four of our (female track endurance) squad here. For the past couple of years we’ve been a team of eight riders, at one point nine, but because of differences in individual training plans or personal logistics, we’ve ended up cut in half for this camp, and it’s bizarre how small the team feels.

I say it’s bizarre because for a large chunk of the team’s history the squad was no bigger than five riders. For example, back in 2013 (when team pursuit was still 3km for women) the World Championship team consisted of only three riders and no reserve.

Can you see me teeing this up for a brag about the current strength in depth of GB women’s track cycling? Good, because that’s what’s happening.

It’s outrageous! Final selections for the 2019 World Championships are decided next week (the official announcement will likely tail that a little to allow for appeals) and it’s been a super-tough selection period (ed. rider selection for the Worlds was revealed earlier this week).

We’re essentially distilling two full team pursuit line-ups into one. The maths is far harder than it’s ever been.

However, the selection everyone has been discussing is that of John Archibald. An “off-programme” rider setting world’s best times in the individual pursuit and suffering constant sunburn from the reflected glory of his younger sister.

Will he be going to the Worlds? I feel no doubt that he will be, but the Twittersphere is enjoying hypothetical outrage at the hypothetical possibility of his non-selection because it’s fun to get angry at British Cycling.

I’m too institutionalised for that myself and feel sure that whatever decision our glorious leaders come to will be the right one. Assuming that decision is that he’s getting on the flight to Poland, of course.