'Like being trotted out for slaughter' - Katie Archibald opens up about World Championships anxiety

The 29-year-old said she made 'mistake after mistake' in Wednesday's Omnium, in which she came fourth

Katie Archibald in the omnium at the world championships in Glasgow
(Image credit: SWPix)

Two-time Olympic gold medal winning track cyclist Katie Archibald has said she struggled with the pressure of performing at a home World Championships in Glasgow. 

The Scot, who began her racing career on the boards of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, finished fourth in the Omnium on Wednesday night, having fought valiantly for a medal in the last of the four events.  

Her disappointment came three days after the joy of winning her fifth world title, as part of the British quartet that triumphed in the team pursuit on Sunday. 

“It’s not just a loss, but it’s a frustration with yourself,” Archibald said after the Omnium. “Obviously I’m frustrated about how I went through the event as a whole. But it’s nicer to finish on a race where I feel like I’ve given it my all.” 

When the names were read out into the track centre ahead of the first event, the roar from the crowds for Archibald was unmatched. The 29-year-old placed fourth in the opening Scratch race, but struggled in the Tempo and Elimination races, coming 13th and 14th. 

She entered the final event - the Points race - in eighth, and went on to gain two laps on the field, finishing on 127 points, six off a medal. 

“It was just mistake after mistake,” she explained. “I’ve had this anxiety building, since May really, feeling like you’re waiting to be trotted out for slaughter. And I thought, ‘Well, once I get racing, it’ll be ok.’ And the Scratch didn’t go to plan.

“I’ve struggled with the pressure. To come in with form like this, it’s never one thing, and I can’t blame it on one thing. But I’ve obviously made a series of mistakes, and maybe done two proper things in a Points race, and that weighed out to fourth.” 

In recent weeks, Archibald has spoken openly about her difficulty in preparing for this year’s World Championships, which come a year after her partner, Rab Wardell, died in his sleep

“What’s funny is that now I feel fine, I guess because I’m a bit dejected,” she said. “I cry all the time, like at everything, mainly happy things. So when you feel disappointed with a race, it’s quite a mellow sense of sadness, compared to the bigger things we all deal with in life.” 

“[This event] was so special, and maybe that’s part of what’s gotten to me. I think I’ve probably put too much on it. Just as a fan, I’ve loved it, I’ve loved every moment. I put too much of my heart into my head, and that seemed to sort of stall my legs.” 

Thank you for reading 20 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

Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.