‘Dejected’ Archibald told her mother to stop sending her newspaper cuttings
The 25-year-old had to settle for silver in the team pursuit in Pruszkow.
Katie Archibald had to ask her mum to stop sending her newspaper cuttings as she sought to get over a feeling of dejection after a disappointing world championships at the start of the month.
Archibald went to Pruszkow three weeks ago with lofty ambitions both in the team pursuit and the Madison.
But after settling for silver in the team pursuit, the Olympic champion was a late replacement for the ill Laura Kenny in the omnium, suffered a heavy crash, and missed out on the Madison with concussion.
To add to the frustration, Katie’s brother John, competing in his first world championships at the age of 28, was some five seconds off his own best time to finish off the pace in the individual pursuit.
It was part of a broadly disappointing championships for Britain, who came away facing questions over whether they can turn it around in time to deliver another glut of medals at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
They were questions Archibald did not want to dwell on in the immediate aftermath as she needed a mental break. Her mum did not help.
“I’m not in the celebrity world where s*** is spoken about me in newspapers and on Twitter much,” she told Press Association Sport. “I don’t have to hide away from criticism much because it doesn’t find me easily.
“But after this worlds I have had it a little bit with my mum where she’ll send me articles. I think, ‘Mum, I don’t want to read about it being a terrible day for the Archibalds, or the head coach thinks this, or (performance director) Stephen Park feels that way’.
“I explicitly asked my mother to stop sending things so it doesn’t affect me.”
Archibald can be her own harshest critic at times, constantly demanding the standards that have seen her deliver one Olympic gold, three world titles, 11 at European level and a gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games.
Much of what went wrong in Pruszkow was not her fault – Kenny’s illness was perhaps the difference as Australia beat Britain by two tenths of a second in the team pursuit while the omnium crash was bad luck – but it has taken her time to get over the disappointment.
“I’m not sure I would characterise it as frustration, it was more a bit of dejection,” she said. “It was lowness about my own performance. It wasn’t like I could feel angry at anyone, I just felt very aware of not being good enough.
“I don’t necessarily feel any better now, I’m just further away from it and don’t think about it every day.”
The Madison, a new Olympic discipline from next year, had been a big focus for Archibald but she instead had to watch as her partner Neah Evans finished fourth alongside late replacement Elinor Barker.
Archibald will be back on track this weekend at Six Day Manchester, the great cycling party where she is looking forward to finally racing a Madison with Evans – and not feeling any pressure when she does.
“The worlds was the third time we’ve tried to race together,” Archibald said of Evans.
“We tried to do the nationals and I broke my wrist and then we tried to race in Italy and she broke her collarbone, always in the final days or weeks leading up to events so we had to change everything at the last minute.
“At the Six Day we’re going to finally put together what we’ve been training for. I’m just glad we’ll be out there putting into practice what we’ve been chatting about for years”
:: Tickets for Phynova Six Day Manchester at the UK National Cycling Centre, 22-24 March, are on sale now via ticketmaster.co.uk/sixdaymanchester