‘My path was unconvential’: The 40 hours of Zwift leading up to John Archibald’s ProTeam debut

Archibald made his debut for Alberto Contador's EOLO-Kometa outfit at the Clásica de Almería, but a perfect storm of problems meant his preparation was unorthodox, to say the least

While John Archibald’s new EOLO-Kometa team-mates were getting reacquainted on the coast near Valencia at a pre-season training camp, he was inside on Zwift replicating the training at home, knocking out 40 hours of indoor riding over 11 days to get himself ready for his debut.

“My path to Clásica de Almería was a bit unconventional if you compare it to my team-mates,” Archibald said, the perfect storm of coronavirus and Brexit travel restrictions stopping him from making the trip to Spain, while the literal storm of snow, ice and rain at home in Scotland prevented him from training outside.

Stepping up to ProTeam level for the first time at the age of 30, Archibald was supposed to make his first outing for Alberto Contador’s squad at the Volta a la Comunitat Valencia before it was cancelled, the 21.2km time trial would have provided an opportunity for the ‘Chronoman’, as the team’s press release describes him, to show what he can do against the clock.

Instead, the Clásica de Almería “was a privileged opportunity for me to represent the team and open my professional debut,” the Scotsman said, finishing 109th, two minutes down on winner Giacomo Nizzolo.

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Next, Archibald’s main focus is on not getting trapped in the UK again. He will now stick with the team so as to not miss out on another training camp or a packed schedule of Italian races coming up in March.

“As of now I join the team’s next training camp in Oliva, finishing out a training period before moving onwards to Italy and continuing my race program over there,” Archibald said. “Let’s hope I don’t do a single ride indoors between now and then; I have my fingers crossed.”