Exclusive - Archibald relishing battle with 'best in the world' at Six Day Manchester
Katie Archibald is relishing the opportunity to renew her "intense" battle with the world's best at the Six Day Manchester, which gets underway on Friday.
Archibald will look to recapture the form that earned her Olympic gold after suffering dejection from her performance at the Track Cycling World Championships.
The Scot heads to the National Cycling Centre after a disappointing medal haul for Great Britain in Poland last month, and the 25-year-old is grateful for the swift opportunity to make amends.
"It’s a very strong line-up – if I was a spectator in the stands I would be shaking with excitement about that," she exclusively told Eurosport.
"But from my perspective, I’m just pleased to get the chance to race in a party atmosphere, have a good time but still go hard on the bike.
Neah Evans and Katie Archibald will team up in the Madison in ManchesterGetty Images
"What I love about Six Day events is there is so much racing. We kick off at 6pm, but you’ve got the whole evening completely packed with race after race after race. It’s so full on, it’s intense – and it’s like being in a nightclub.
" It’s a chance to race against a high quality international field but with zero travel, zero logistical effort from our perspective. The best in the world are turning up at our doorstep."
The Scottish cyclist claimed silver in Poland whilst illness to Laura Kenny meant she took part in Omnium, finishing in seventh place after a crash led to her suffering a bout of concussion which ruled her out on the madison in Pruszkow.
Next year's Tokyo Olympics is on the horizon, but Archibald remains focused on her immediate future, starting with a good performance in the Six Day event, which is live on Eurosport throughout the weekend.
"I’m most looking forward to the Madison," she added. "I’m going to be racing with Neah Evans, a Scottish team-mate of mine. We’ve been trying to race together for the last three years, but three years in a row one of us has broken a bone or crashed just before, so fingers crossed it’s okay this year. I think it’s actually the fifth time we’ve tried to race together, so fifth time’s a charm.
"I’m trying to take advantage of some of the summer track opportunities this year, get some more Madison experience and take that through to Tokyo.
"The next Olympics is the first time we’ll be competing for a Madison medal, which is a big draw for every nation – every team has stepped up their national programs. We’re really engaged with this Madison challenge, and events like Six Day back that as well which really helps.
Archibald won silver in the women's team pursuit at the Track Cycling World Championships last monthGetty Images
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"Team Pursuit is my main focus and ambition looking to the Olympics. I want to go to Tokyo and I want to defend that title and I want to win another Olympic gold medal. Beyond that I also want to be selected for the Madison, I want to compete in the Madison and I want to do well in the Madison. Those are the two things that I really want to do."
The Phynova Six Day Manchester takes place between 22-24 March at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre, and will be broadcast LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Eurosport Player, with the first two hours of each evening available to watch for free on the Eurosport website.