Katie Archibald admits her “embarrassing” error in the elimination race in Mallorca at the 2022 UCI Track Champions League opener turned out to be “the biggest relief”.
The British star’s title defence hit an early hiccup in the Balearic Islands when she surprisingly exited the devil on the first sprint lap.
But she made amends in thrilling fashion in Berlin, taking a brilliant win in the scratch race after gaining a lap with early overall leader Jennifer Valente (United States) and following it up with redemption in the eliminator.
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Speaking about her Mallorca mistake, Archibald told Eurosport: “It didn’t hurt. It was the biggest relief. It was so embarrassing and that’s quite grounding. I’m terrified all the time.”
The two-time Olympic champion said an amusing, and wordless, interaction with Chris Hoy helped downplay the situation and made it feel “comical and normal”.
“It wasn’t the best thing that could have happened… well, it was the worst thing that could have happened. But it really calmed my chest down so I should be grateful.”
Archibald’s double success propelled her into second in the women’s Endurance League. Valente leads the competition on 66 points with Archibald on 60.
“It meant a lot. It hurt a lot,” Archibald said about her Berlin outing. “We’ve just got to keep that going.”
Archibald could have grabbed top spot from Valente, had a confusing eliminator gone even more in her favour.
A strange and chaotic race saw Lily Williams (United States) appear to be eliminated twice and Rachele Barbieri (Italy) adjudged to have committed an infringement when beating Valente in a sprint, allowing Valente to race on to claim a second-place finish and keep the overall lead.
“Barbieri went out on a disqualification I assume. I’m obviously not chuffed about that so I’ll need to see what happened. It’s how it goes,” added Archibald.
The UCI Track Champions League continues in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines on November 26.
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After a great debut season, the UCI Track Champions League is back for season two, with Laura Kenny joining the party. You can watch it all live and on demand on discovery+. We also have extensive coverage across eurosport.com.
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