Katie Archibald column: Disaster and then luck in Madison during Six Day London

“‘OK’ is a label I’ve learnt is awarded to those who escape death — a cousin of ‘it could have been a lot worse’”

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

I’m writing this on the last day of Six Day London. Bagged myself a win in the omnium last night (a pleasurable experience, of course, but also a mild relief when you’re in rainbow stripes) and today is Madison day. Slight hiccup: my Madison partner is on a train to Manchester. Can I stress again, Six Day ‘London’.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m distraught that my Madison partner, European champion and Worlds medallist in the event Elinor Barker, is unwell and so not riding (a selfless act when you consider the amount of hand-holding involved), but it certainly took the bounce out of my step when she let me know.

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The silver lining is that Elinor’s misfortune coincides with that of Irish rider Lydia Gurley. Gurley crashed in yesterday’s omnium, a nasty one that had her go straight from track centre to A&E. By this morning we heard that Gurley had fortunately not broken her leg and so was “OK” in the end. ‘OK’ is a label I’ve learnt is awarded to those who escape death. A cousin of ‘it could have been a lot worse’.

Whatever level of OK Lydia Gurley is (I sincerely hope a very high level, she’s part of the exciting Irish team that has been making their mark on international Madison racing these past two seasons), she is unable to race today and so I’ve found myself a Madison partner.

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And not just any partner, but my road team [WNT] team-mate Lydia Boylan! Every other pairing is done by nation and so the jerseys have your nation’s flag on them. We’re still deciding who’s going to have to swing the other way since we’ll have to ride in matching kit.

Elinor and I will get a second chance to ride together, once again with a home crowd, at the Manchester World Cup. This was a factor in El’s decision to call time on her Six Day London racing; there’s still some mighty big fish to fry, and we want to get the big pan ready for them.

[Update: Katie Archibald and Lydia Boylan placed second in the Madison behind Neah Evans and Emily Nelson]

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