John Archibald waiting for World Championship place to be confirmed

John Archibald gives the thumbs up as he smashes his own world best (Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
John Archibald gives the thumbs up as he smashes his own world best (Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

Milngavie cyclist John Archibald smashed his own sea level world record on the way to landing the British individual pursuit title.

The 28-year-old clocked 4 minutes 09.584 seconds in his qualifying ride at the Manchester velodrome, eclipsing the mark he set in Switzerland in December.

Archibald then went on to take the title, catching Huub Wattbike team-mate Dan Bigham in the final kilometre.

Just for good measure Archibald and Bigham then teamed up with Charlie Tanfield and Johnny Wale to win the team pursuit title and complete a perfect weekend for John.

His next aim is hopefully the World Championships from February 27 to March 3 - but remarkably he will require special dispensation to be able to ride.

Because he is not part of the official British Cycling performance squad he has to apply to take part as a guest rider - although with two world record rides and a national title under his belt it seems inconceivable that he would be left at home.

Archibald’s rise to fame essentially began in earnest at last year’s British Track Championships when he claimed the points race title.

But given is pursuit exploits since he conceded there was more pressure and expectation on him this time round.

He admitted: “It does add to it. But I had a very good understanding of where the challenges were going to come from and was confident in what I could do and how it would play out, so the pressure wasn’t crippling.”

Setting a world record in his first outing was a sizzling start, but John said it wasn’t until the last couple of laps that he homed in on the mark he set in Switzerland.

He said: “Every lap I was getting split times and could see I was there or thereabouts and the only difference was in the last two laps I didn’t really fade that badly, whereas in Switzerland I started to slow down a fair bit.

“I could hear people at the side of the track shouting and cheering and it wasn’t until I crossed the line that I realised I’d actually got under the 4:10 by quite a fair mark.

“In the final there’s a different mentality. The second ride of the day is always so much harder, the times are almost always slower. You go into it expecting to be slower but wondering who’s going to slow the most.

“You start out at your intended pace and then probably about half-distance you realise you’re not going to be able to hold this all the way and start looking to see where your opponent is.

“In this case I’d done enough to get in the slipstream of Dan and once you’re in the slipstream things get a lot easier for you and you can make the catch.”

With the individual pursuit no longer an Olympic event the World Championships is the pinnacle of what he can achieve in the discipline.

John’s application for guest rider status for Poland is now in. All he can now do is wait in the knowledge that he has done all he can to be given the green light.

He said: “I don’t know whether they’ll look at the British Championships as a selection event or not. But I’m pretty hopeful. It would seem like a waste if they didn’t bring me.”

Apart from a tilt at global gold, John is also looking forward to having the chance to ride in his British national champion’s jersey, something which was denied him in 2018.

He said: “Last year I won the points race but didn’t do any points races where I got to wear the jersey.

“But I imagine I’ll do a lot of pursuits in the next year so hopefully I’ll get opportunities to wear it.

“Everyone talks about it like it gives you a boost so I’m hoping it will. I take a lot of pride in winning a national jersey, it’s a special to win the British Championships so I’m looking forward to it.”