Katie Archibald takes women’s endurance title as Ed Clancy rides into retirement

Katie Archibald secured the inaugural women’s endurance title at the UCI Track Champions League in London as Great Britain team-mate Ed Clancy brought the curtain down on a decorated career.

Archibald started the night with a commanding 35-point advantage and though she effectively secured the title with second place in the night’s opening scratch race, the 27-year-old finished in style with victory in the elimination race giving her a final margin of 45 points over the retiring Kirsten Wild.

The Scot’s success caps a year in which she won Olympic Madison gold, the world omnium title and three European crowns, as well as Olympic silver in the team pursuit.

“I’m so happy with the springboard of the Olympics and everything I’ve carried through from there,” Archibald said.

“I made the call to keep pushing, and now it’s time for a reset which very conveniently overlaps with Christmas.”

While Archibald bossed the women’s endurance category, Olympic champion Harrie Lavreysen lived up to his billing as the clear favourite in the men’s sprint, while American Gary Hoover took the men’s endurance crown and Germany’s Emma Hinze the women’s sprint title.

Archibald had taken the leader’s blue jersey in the opening round in Mallorca at the start of November and never looked like surrendering it, winning five of the eight races across the four legs, including all four elimination races.

“I always knew the scratch races were going to be my sticking point but I feel I minimised losses and that’s how you win the series – being the most consistent – but it’s nice to pull out those big wins as well,” she said.

The night also saw Clancy, 36, ride into retirement, ending a career which brought three Olympic gold medals in the team pursuit – one of them in this velodrome back in 2012 – as well as six world and five European titles.

The Yorkshireman announced his retirement after being hampered by a back injury at the Tokyo Olympics, but used this competition as a “warm-down lap” as he rode to 16th place in the men’s endurance standings.

And with the pandemic forcing the cancellation of next week’s planned final round in Tel Aviv, Clancy was able to say goodbye on home boards in London.

“It’s a shame Israel has been cancelled but for me it’s nice to go out in this building,” Clancy told the PA news agency. “I see Chris (Hoy) over there – I was thinking about Chris and how he stood on the top step of the podium in his home Olympics for his swansong.

“Maybe things like that are saved for the greats but I’ve done my best. It’s no secret that in many ways I checked out mentally when things didn’t go well in Tokyo so to finish it here, I’m happy. I’ve had a great time. Thanks to everyone who has played a hand in it.”

Clancy added a promise “never to ride a skinny-tired bike in anger again” but his commitment to British Cycling remains, and he has been in discussions over taking up a new role next year.

“We’ve been talking about the potential to work with Research & Innovation and potentially a couple of smaller roles in British Cycling,” he said. “There’s potentially things in other Olympic sports as well.”