Laura Kenny hails ‘incredible’ Katie Archibald after partner’s death
Laura Kenny called Katie Archibald “incredible” for managing to maintain success on the track despite personal grief.
Archibald, who won Olympic Madison gold alongside Kenny, lost her partner in August when mountain biker Rab Wardell died suddenly at the age of 37.
But the Scot is in a strong position to defend her UCI Track Champions League title this weekend.
“She is one incredible human being,” Kenny said of Archibald.
“If I lost Jase [husband Sir Jason Kenny] or my somebody, I don’t know how I would carry on.
“I know she says cycling is her carrying on, but if that happened to me I don’t know how I would get a leg over a bike, let alone be able to perform at the level she’s performing at.”
Archibald missed the Commonwealth Games through illness and injury, but she won silver in the team pursuit at October’s World Championships.
She returned to individual competition for the Champions League three weeks ago and goes into this weekend’s decider in London one point behind American Jennifer Valente in the women’s endurance standings.
Kenny told the Press Association of Archibald: “It’s like when I said that bike racing is a happy space, but still, to be able to commit to it, to train that hard and put yourself through that much pain to be going so well, I think she is phenomenal, I really do.
“I don’t think I could do that after everything she’s gone through.”
Kenny has spoken openly of the heartbreak she experienced last year when she suffered a miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, and admitted she considered retirement.
After defying her own predictions to win Commonwealth gold at the London velodrome in July, Kenny again said she needed a break from the sport, but competed at the World Championships and finished fifth in the Madison alongside Neah Evans.
Kenny goes into Friday’s Champions League finale joint last in the standings – but is enjoying racing again after starting a new training regime.
“I always knew it was going to take time,” she said. “Did I know it was going to take this much time? No. But I trust the process.
“I don’t want to come last, I want to be winning bike races. But I’m having fun racing my bike. For me, that’s the biggest thing at the minute.”