MOVE aside Katie, there’s another Archibald in town. Against all expectations, John Archibald became British champion over the weekend at the British Track Cycling Championships in Manchester, taking victory in the points race in spectacular fashion.

Over the past few years, Archibald has made a name for himself on the road, becoming Scottish time trial champion but until six months ago, the 26 year-old had never ridden even a single lap in a velodrome.

However, with the Commonwealth Games approaching, Archibald decided to give the track a stab but with the timeframe so tight for selection for Team Scotland, he admits his expectations were low. As recently as a couple months ago, merely following the black line was something of a struggle but his improvement in just a few months has been incredible.

The weekend’s events were predicted by no one though, especially not Archibald himself. After winning an impressive bronze medal in the individual pursuit on day one of the championships, he put in a remarkable performance to win the points race, gaining a lap on the field to secure the victory, and become British champion for the first time.

And the most surprised person in a packed Manchester velodrome was Archibald. “I can’t believe that happened,” he said. “I knew that if I got that lap then it would almost seal the deal but there were so many times during the race that I really felt like I wasn’t going to get there. But there was a slight lull in the pace and so I got back in and got the lap so going for it really paid off – thank goodness. I came to this event thinking that a medal was the best I was ever going to get – I never expected it to be gold so I just cannot believe it.”

It was a remarkable hour for the Archibald family as immediately before John’s points race victory, his younger sister, Olympic champion Katie, won the second of her three national titles over the weekend. She took victory in the scratch race with an exhilarating performance and it was watching her ride that gave Archibald the extra boost he needed ahead of his own race.

And with his sister screaming her lungs out in encouragement, he had all the motivation he needed. “Watching my sister’s race - I was in shock,” he said. “The way she won it was just unbelievable. I got such an adrenaline rush from watching her that I was excited before I even got on my bike. And then I could see and hear her cheering me on as I was going round because she was track-side. It’s a weird scenario – coming into this event, I really wasn’t expecting to say that we’d both be British champions. She’s still got a lot more medals than I do but we’ve both got the British points race title so that’s pretty nice.”

Just a few months ago, selection for the Commonwealth Games seemed something of a long shot for Archibald but now his inclusion in Team Scotland’s cycling squad, which is announced in two weeks, appears to be something of a formality. And while he is conscious not to count his chickens, he admits that he now has to reassess his goals on the track, with success now a very real possibility. “I’ll need to go away and think about where I want to go in the future now because I really wasn’t expecting this so I have no plan in place,” he said.

“My first ever lap on the track was only six months ago so I’m really hoping that in the next eight weeks ahead of the Games, I can make some more real improvements. This has given me a lot to think about – every race you do, you get a new scenario to learn from. But winning a British title is a massive step forward for me so hopefully I can improve even further.”