Rider Archbold keen to show abilities

SHANE ARCHBOLD: "I am the fittest, healthiest and oldest I have ever been. I’m looking  forward to the challenge."
SHANE ARCHBOLD: "I am the fittest, healthiest and oldest I have ever been. I’m looking forward to the challenge."

Timaru's Olympic omnium rider Shane Archbold is in a positive frame of mind as he heads into his first Olympic Games in London.

A UCI world championship silver medallist last year, the 23-year-old is still ranked in the top six, in the six-discipline event and is a genuine medal contender.

Archbold said his preparations had been going great.

"I had 10 days of racing over 11 days at the start of the month and it really took its toll on me.

"It took me a long time to recover but I have bounced back nicely and I am getting in some good training here in Bordeaux."

Archbold also showed he has maintained his sense of humour despite the rigours of the buildup to his biggest ever event.

"I am the fittest, healthiest and oldest I have ever been. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

"The focus for me is crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's and making sure everything falls into place on the right day and time."

"At this stage of my buildup its about getting training 100 per cent perfect and recovering as fast as possible for the next training session."

Archbold said the Olympics seems surreal at this stage.

"Sitting in my hotel room in Bordeaux it feels no different to any other race, but I'm sure once I make the move to the village I will start to feel a whole lot different.

"I'm looking forward to showing everyone what my best abilities can do and I am also hoping they they can net me a medal along the way."

There is no doubt those who stand on the podium in the omnium will also need a touch of luck, especially in the 30-kilometre points race and 15km scratch race.

Both those races, especially the tactical points race, have been the least impressive of Archbold's event, but he is confident he can conquer them.

Archbold is part of the 22-strong BikeNZ Olympic team - comprising track, road, BMX and mountainbike - who have been preparing in Europe and the United States.

The feeling is they could be bringing home their biggest medal haul.

The men's pursuit team, with Timaru's Marc Ryan, as well as the women's pursuit team and the men's sprint team, are all podium contenders after top-four finishes at the world championships in April.

Others ranked in the world's top six are Simon van Velthooven (keirin), and the BMX pair of Sarah Walker and Marc Willers and Archbold (omnium). Women's road time triallist Linda Villumsen is also a good medal chance.

Archbold is instantly recognisable under his helmet, thanks to his trademark mullet.

Archbold's look came after a bet with 2008 Olympic silver medallist Hayden Roulston to let it grow for a year.

Not one to be easily beaten he won the bet, collected the money and cut it off, but then missed it so much he grew it again.

"It's not very fashionable over here in Belgium and France so I get a lot of stares. You get used to it; my team-mates notice it more than me. I'm not too worried about it."

A medal, however, may see it cut off again for charity.

The Timaru Herald