Women's Tour of Scotland a 'special event' - Katie Archibald

Katie Archibald prepares to lead her team out in Dundee
Katie Archibald prepares to lead her team out in Dundee

Katie Archibald takes a break from her Olympic preparations to ride in the maiden Women's Tour of Scotland, with her expectations low.

The 25-year-old is targeting the defence of team pursuit gold and madison success at Tokyo 2020 but will deal with the rain in Dundee first.

With Neah Evans, Sophie Langford and Anna Shackley, she competes for Scotland in the three-day, 350km event.

"I've not been focused on the road this season," admits Archibald.

"But I'm prepared as can be. I will be out of my legs a little bit but will see how it goes.

"Now we're getting close to Tokyo its pretty much consuming my every thought. Road cycling is not something that occupies a lot of my mind just now. In the future, if there was a career path there, if I thought I could excel on the road, certainly, but the wider ambition is on the track."

With the Olympics next summer, Archibald says she will be "taking zero risks" as the August rain falls heavily across her homeland.

"I'm not a fan of racing in the wet," she said. "It makes me nervous, it's all a bit edgy, but that's part of the challenge. It's what I signed up for."

Stage one takes riders from Dundee to Dunfermline, which is followed by a Glasgow to Perth route, with the 16 teams finishing in Edinburgh on Sunday.

"If I was a spectator, I would be really looking forward to the Dunfermline finish," she said. "It's a fairly technical, fast run in into a 180 bend through for the last kilometre - that's going to be really grippy and really tough - two minutes of agony for whoever wins.

"I drove through the Perth finish and that will be super fast. That's where my strengths lie but its so precarious and unlikely to split in the last 30km run into it; it's almost all downhill, then Holyrood Park and round Arthur's Seat [in Edinburgh] will be very special."

While repeat world and European champion Archibald may not be challenging for a podium place on the slick roads, she does feel "privileged" to be the figurehead for the inaugural race.

"The Tour of Scotland highlights this as a stand alone event created by the demand for competitive women's racing," she said.

"It's not mimicking a men's race. I think that's something we should really pay more attention to - in sport more widely - that mimicking what the men have done isn't always the perfect recipe and if we can evolve our sport in our own terms, its a special event."

Women's Tour of Scotland route map

Map of the race

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