KATIE ARCHIBALD shone on the track in what was a record-breaking 2013 but she believes her new base in Manchester with British Cycling will result in her achieving a lifelong dream in the saddle this year.
With a Commonwealth Games on home soil in Glasgow starting to appear on the horizon, the 19-year-old must anxiously wait until May before she learns whether or not she will compete for Scotland.
However, there is little doubt that Archibald is an almost certainty to compete, having won two medals at the senior British Track Championships in September and set a Scottish record in the individual pursuit in October.
That’s not all, though. Former City of Edinburgh rider Archibald also helped Britain’s all-conquering team pursuit squad land European Championships gold in a world record time and won silver and bronze at the Manchester World Cup.
Archibald is now based in Manchester on British Cycling’s Olympic Academy programme and, while Glasgow 2014 looms, she insists riding in the team pursuit for Britain at the World Championships in Colombia next month is her first priority.
“The biggest thing for me is being selected for the World Championships and obviously it is a Commonwealth Games year so it is quite hard to ignore that too,” said Archibald, who was announced as a SSE Next Generation ambassador last summer.
“To represent Scotland at that level has been a massive goal of mine since I started cycling but they won’t make the team announcement until around May.
“Last year, I got a silver medal in the first round of the World Cup event in Manchester in the scratch race riding for Scottish Cycling’s Braveheart trade team and we were the underdogs so to come away with a podium spot set things up nicely.
“I went on to get the bronze in the individual pursuit as well but under the Scottish Cycling outfit we aren’t able to compete everywhere because we are so small, so you want to try and get on the GB team to take you abroad.
“But there are obviously a lot of good riders and it is a case of you want the job to get experience but you need experience to get the job. It may not be a flattering way of saying it but the team pursuit is everyone’s entry to glory as it were and you have to accept that the road to Rio 2016 is with the team pursuit, where four or five will be selected.”
You could forgive Archibald for being a little starstruck as she trains alongside Olympic and world champions in Laura Trott and Dani King but she is far from caught up by her company.
In fact, Archibald is relishing the prospect of facing off against her current team-mates with another Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell and world champion Elinor Barker most likely her main rivals at Glasgow 2014.
“When it comes to the Commonwealth Games, if selected I will probably be racing against the girls I train with all the time as Joanna wants to ride the pursuit for England and Elinor could represent Wales,” she added.
“They are part of the Olympic Podium Programme and I am on the Academy Programme but we train four days a week and they help set the high standard I need to keep pushing and improving.
“They’ve produced on the world level and I am hoping I will get that chance this year as well.”
SSE are partnering with SportsAid to support the sporting stars of the future as part of their commitment to Glasgow 2014 and beyond with their SSE Next Generation ambassador programme. Keep up to date with the latest @YourSSE.