Katie Archibald column: My reasons for considering the sprint at the national championships

“Am I subconsciously keen to enter so I have an excuse for doing poorly in the pursuit, an event I’m essentially afraid of?”

Katie Archibald.
(Image credit: Nick Hill)

Olympic and world champion, Katie Archibald got into cycling after winning handicap races on a Highland Games grass track. She writes a column for Cycling Weekly each week

Tonight I must decide whether to enter the sprint at this year’s Track Nationals. Or, I could pay £25 to delay the decision by changing it to whether or not I withdraw.

The Championships take place in Manchester from January 26-28. So far I have entered the individual pursuit (Friday), the scratch race and keirin (both Saturday) and the points race (Sunday).

The sprint is on the Friday and entering would be a stupid thing to do. Best-case scenario is that I wouldn’t be too deep into the sprint ladder before pursuit qualifying so I could still put down a good time. But also that I do go far enough into the sprint ladder before the pursuit qualifying to avoid being so nailed from pursuiting that I go out the sprint really early.

Then I would hopefully have enough time to recover during the lunch break, come back fighting in whatever sprint heats I make, and accept one horribly painful and potentially quite slow pursuit final.


The top eight pursuit qualifiers race a final and if you qualify in the top four (I’m defending champion) you ride a ‘medal final’ and can only slip one place lower than your qualifying place.

Why do I want to enter the sprint? Because it would be fun.

And I’m oddly keen to post a flying 200m time (something I could kit up for and do in training — not the same). Crucially though, the best omnium riders in the world are fast — like top end, actually shifting, fast; not just fast-at-the-end-of-a-points-race-when-everyone-else-is-on-their-knees kind of fast, but straight-up quick — so if I’m training to compete in that field I should be able to give the national sprint a fair go.

>>> Katie Archibald column: ‘I’ve seen an asthma attack celebrated by a coach’

Am I subconsciously keen to enter so I have an excuse for doing poorly in the pursuit, an event I’m essentially afraid of since putting so much into performing at the Worlds and walking away with a result that reflected almost no change in two years?

No, what an oddly specific thing to ask.

Unrelated: it’s rude to read other people’s diaries you know.

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.