Olympic cycling champion Katie Archibald has pulled out of the Commonwealth Games in a bid to fully recover from a string of injury setbacks.
The Team Scotland star, who won gold in the Madison event at the Tokyo games last summer, underwent shoulder surgery earlier this year and suffered concussion and a broken collarbone while competing in the World Cup in Glasgow in May.
The 28-year-old was due to face England’s Dame Laura Kenny in a bid to retain her Commonwealth individual pursuit crown at the games in Birmingham.
However, in a statement, devastated Archibald announced her decision to withdraw from the event, wishing the team, including brother John, well when the track events begin on July 29.
“I took two weeks off in January this year while recovering from shoulder surgery, that was a scheduled break,” she said.
“However, since then I’ve managed to fit in, unscheduled: a back fracture, Covid, a concussion, a broken collarbone, another surgery, and – the final cherry on top – two sprained ankles and a big, ballooned leg.
“So, with a very heavy heart I’ve decided to withdraw from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. This isn’t a happy thing to share. Representing Scotland means so much to me, but that’s where I am.
“My best to all my teammates, big brother included, who I know will do us proud.”
She added: “My thanks again to Scottish Cycling for their support. They put a lot behind me to try and achieve something special this year and, even though I’m not going to manage that, I’m so grateful for their backing.”
Archibald also won the points race silver at the Commonwealth Games four years ago, and her withdrawal will come as a significant blow to Scotland given cycling was their most successful sport in Australia, with four golds, four silvers and two bronzes.
Madison gold was part of a stellar 2021 for Archibald, who also won Olympic silver in the team pursuit, became the world omnium champion and took European titles in the omnium, scratch race and Madison – taking the latter title alongside Scotland teammate Neah Evans.
Elinor Middlemiss, Team Scotland chef de mission said: “We are really disappointed for Katie that she has had to take the tough decision to withdraw from the Games.
“Her welfare is of the utmost importance, and we wish her a speedy recovery. Katie is a huge supporter and advocate of Scottish sport and I have no doubt that Katie will be cheering the team on from the sidelines.”