Shane Archbold is getting ready for just his second grand tour outing at the Vuelta a Espana this weekend.  The BORA-Hansgrohe fast man did so in the best way possible when he won stage 2 of the Czech Cycling Tour and finished second overall in the points classification.  We got to catch up with him afterwards.

The name Shane Archbold has been one that’s been front and centre in high performance cycling from junior to elite level for close on 15 years.  The vast majority of Archbold’s personal success came on the track with Commonwealth gold and bronze in 2014 and silver at the 2011 Track World Championships being firmly entrenched among the highlights.  But until last week, five years of faithful lead out work at the highest level had not yielded a personal victory on the road.  At the Czech Cycling Tour that all changed.

“A few sleeps on now it’s great that all the hours and miles I have done for the benefit of mostly other people have come in handy for myself.  Was a bit surprised to win so didn’t get my chance to throw the hands in the air but I won’t forget next time!” Shane told us about the win in Frydek-Místek.  

The win had come at the end of 186.6km of racing that had been pretty unforgiving for the sprinters.  It had been a very lumpy day of racing, with plenty of climbing miles in the legs, and a look at the parcours would have had many assuming that the sprinters would have been in for a day of survival rather than success.  But it’s interesting to note that it was a bunch of over 60 riders out of the 124 who finished that made it together to the finish with Mitchelton-SCOTT and BORA-Hansgrohe set to do battle as the two premier World Tour outfits in a field of 20 teams.

Interestingly it wasn’t meant to be Shane spearheading the attack at all that day, but circumstances dictated otherwise.  “I wasn’t meant to be sprinting, I was in my usual role of lead out for Erik Baška, but the way the final played out after a hard, complicated stage, Erik lost my wheel in the closing meters so I took my own opportunity and thankfully paid off for me and the team with Erik still finishing third,” Shane said.

The win for many would be seen as perfect in its timing.  Archbold’s contract with BORA-Hansgrohe is up at the end of the year and as yet there has been no renewal or clear indication of where he – or friend and teammate Sam Bennett – will end up next.  Speculation suggests that where the Irishman goes the Kiwi will follow, a little like the relationship between Cav and Mark Renshaw.  But nothing is nailed down yet and even a well-taken impromptu victory guarantees nothing.

“Unfortunately the win doesn’t effect my situation too much as I’m sold as a pure lead out rider and not a winner,” Shane explained.  “But it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of results for yourself to back up your case.  For the moment I haven’t signed a contract but for the first time in my career I’m not stressed about finding one.”

We look forward to seeing Shane don the black jersey for the final grand tour of the season; and seeing where the future takes him beyond there.  Racing at the Vuelta a Espana begins on the evening of the 24th (NZT) with a team time trial starting in Salinas de Torrevieja.

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