Yesterday was a full on day. I took in the National Track Championships for the first time and made another visit to the Manchester Velodrome, aka the National Velodrome. Doors opened at 8am and the final podium ceremony was not much before 11pm, with just over an hours gap in the late afternoon, it was a packed day.
Looking back through the pictures I took it becomes apparent so much happened with qualifying rounds all over the place and 10 new champions crowned. For the likes of Katie Archibald, who won titles on each of the 3 days, I am truly in awe of how much stamina she has to churn out top level performances like that, (she also finished 2nd in the keirin final by inches otherwise it would have been 4 titles).
My respect for young Ms Archibald is very high indeed as her sheer versatility is amazing. If she converts her track form to the road then she could become the greatest British cyclist ever, and I include the men in that statement.
I’m sure Laura Kenny is looking over her shoulder and seeing the immense talent that British women’s cycling currently has, as there is Elinor Barker too, who is 22 years old like Katie Archibald.
That is what really struck me on Saturday, how strong British women’s cycling is at present. The example set by fantastic role models like Sarah Storey, Joanna Rowsell-Shand and Trotty, (okay she is married now but the nickname will stick), have really inspired the young women and girls of Britain and it makes me immensely proud.
We have the foundations for World domination of women’s cycling here, I truly believe that and it is a crying shame that the exposure women’s cycling gets, especially road racing, does not match up to what the men receive.
Things are changing and in Britain faster than anywhere else. We now have equivalence in prize money between men’s and women’s races on the Tour de Yorkshire and the respective week long Tour of Britain races that happen, that is all great but sadly we are some way off having an event like the Tour de France for women.
That will take time as part of the appeal is the history, which needs to be built. Maybe in my twilight years I might see an event fitting of the efforts of these great female cyclists, that would be special.