He is one of New Zealand's best chances for a medal at the the Olympics, but track cyclist Shane Archbold is taking nothing for granted less than a year out from London.
A silver medallist in the omnium at this year's world championships, the 22-year-old from Timaru has based himself in Invercargill this week to put in extra time at the ILT Velodrome before BikeNZ's next official camp starts there on October 13.
Even with a world championship runner-up medal in his cycling kit, Archbold is leaving nothing to chance because the selections made at that week-long camp later this month should ultimately decide who is wearing the black New Zealand skinsuit in 300 days' time.
Under the watchful eye of Stu MacDonald, who has just been promoted from BikeNZ's development squad to a new role as assistant men's endurance coach, Archbold has been training alongside Invercargill-based sprinters Eddie Dawkins and Matt Archibald.
The pressure is on for the final spots in the New Zealand Olympic team, a shortage of available places means some riders will have to provide cover for more than one event.
In Archbold's case that would mean acting as a reserve for the men's team pursuit, as well as his primary ambitions in the omnium.
Archbold is not taking his place in the New Zealand team for granted.
"Obviously omnium nationals is a big thing for me because everyone else wants to prove they can do what I've done so that's the biggest goal for me. The team pursuiters want to have a go at the omnium but they also want to secure their pursuiting spots. I'll do the Tour of Southland and after that, all going well, it will put me in good nick for, if I get selected, the Oceanias and Cali World Cup."
Archbold will look to cement his spot as New Zealand's top omnium rider at the elite omnium championships in Invercargill during two days from October 18, followed by the Tour of Southland from October 30 to November 5.
Archbold will team up with Myron Simpson, Alex Frame, Josh Atkins, Tom Scully and Cameron Karwowski in a youthful PowerNet squad for the Southland tour.
The next major date on the calendar is the Oceania track championships in Invercargill in late November, which will be followed immediately by the Cali round of the World Cup – the first overseas steps towards London.
"Many things can happen in the time leading up to [London]," Archbold said.
"It's trying not to think about it too much, just concentrating on this training camp and the next one, two weeks away, taking things in those steps rather than looking at how many days there are to go."
The omnium, cycling's version of the decathlon, is a gruelling event. In London it will include six events – the 250m flying lap, 30km points race, 4km pursuit, 15km scratch race, kilometre time trial and elimination race.
"You never enjoy it. It's a crazy man's track race," Archbold said.
"You can't just prepare for one race, you have to prepare for them all. It has become established and now that it's an Olympic event there are all these countries trying to get their riders up to standard."
The New Zealand track endurance riders have been given an additional challenge with news the team's head coach, Tim Carswell, will ride this year's Tour of Southland. Finishing behind the coach, who recently finished second behind Marc Ryan in a major handicap race, is not something Archbold wants to contemplate.
"It will be interesting to see how he goes. It would be pretty embarrassing going forward to be selected in a team when the national coach is beating you, but obviously if he comes to a training camp and tries to ride the team's pursuit, we'd put him in his place then."
Photo and story courtesy of The Southland Times