KATIE ARCHIBALD may still have a good few years left in her before she hangs up her helmet but the view of Sir Chris Hoy is that she has already done more than enough to be considered one of Scottish cycling’s all-time greats. 

Archibald, who is still only 27 years old, has already racked up 40 major championships medals, a whopping 24 of which are gold, including two Olympic titles. 

This exceeds even Hoy’s own personal medal tally although his six Olympic golds mean he remains in a class of his own when it comes to deeming who is the best ever. 

Hoy, however, has no doubt as to quite how highly he rates his compatriot. 

“Katie has to be up there with the all-time greats,” he says.  

“Her results alone merit that but also in the way she does it – she’s such an exciting rider to watch. She’s so aggressive and always the one to attack and really go for it.” 

Archibald may have some way to go to match Hoy’s Olympic success but the 45-year-old is confident she will collect more silverware before her days as a pro cyclist are over. 

“Particularly in women’s endurance, it tends to be older athletes who do well so whether that’s because of physiological reasons or because of their experience of tactics, knowing how to race and train but traditionally, in women’s endurance sport, you get better as you get older,” he says.  

“So I can’t see anything stopping her in Paris in 2024, she won’t just be looking for one gold medal, she’ll be looking for three golds, I’m sure.” 

Hoy was speaking at the unveiling of an installation in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh created by The National Lottery and representing the 636,000 projects that have been supported over the last 27 years. While he may not have raced at elite level for some years, he maintains a keen interest in the sport and has been particularly encouraged by the progress of Jack Carlin, the sprinter who has the unenviable task of following in Hoy’s footsteps. 

Carlin’s Olympic silver and bronze in Tokyo earlier this year was, of course, impressive, but the 24-year-old has his sights set on gold. And despite Hoy knowing quite how challenging it is to become the fastest man in the world on a bike, he is confident Carlin has what it takes to get there. 

“I think Jack has been amazing – just look at his transformation since he burst onto the scene in 2018,” he says. 

“Often, you have that one breakthrough win against them and that will give him the confidence and belief he can do it. 

“I believe he can do it – physically he has to make improvements but he’s not that far off.” 

Hoy was part of British Cycling during its transformation from a relatively successful governing body to one which was hailed as having one of the best set-ups in the world and which every sport should aspire to replicate. 

However, in recent years, considerable turmoil has beset British Cycling, with multiple accusations of athletes being mistreated and bullied and winning medals being prioritised over the treatment of the athletes. 

Hoy has never levelled any of these accusations at the organisation but he is in agreement that it is a positive step forward that the well-being of athletes is now equally as important as success. 

“I think all federations are very aware of athlete welfare now,” he says.  

“Performance is still very much the focus but that and athlete welfare don’t have to be mutually exclusive – you can look after athletes and have them still perform well.  

“The perception often about elite sport is that it’s all super-serious and miserable and living a monastic lifestyle but it’s not. For me, I was living an elite sportsperson’s lifestyle and I loved it. 

“I think what’s important is there’s support for athletes. It’s not just sport, it’s all across society, we’re understanding more about not just physical but also mental health and making sure that we’re physically healthy enough to do our job but we’re also keeping an eye on our mental health.” 

Since his retirement from cycling, he has immersed himself in one of his other loves, motorsport, and recently finished second in the Sports Prototype Cup championship. 

Second place may be a somewhat unfamiliar position for Hoy but he is, he says, well aware of his limitations as a driver and is grateful for having the opportunity of a second sporting career at all. 

And he will, he hopes, return next year as he attempts to make the leap up to the top step of the podium. 

“I’m always looking for new challenges. I didn’t win it but I don’t do it just for the winning, I do motorsport because I love it,” he says. 

“I’m well aware of my level of talent, I’m very much an amateur driver and when you look at the professionals, you really see the difference but I enjoy it and I’ll grab any opportunity.” 

Sir Chris Hoy partners with The National Lottery to celebrate its 27th Birthday by asking people to think of what change they want to see in their community. Find out more at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/funding