WHEN Katie Archibald made her debut at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow three years ago she was a self-described bundle of nerves.

The 21-year-old from Milngavie returned as a reigning triple European champion to compete in her home round of elite cycling’s 2015/16 Revolution Series.

Her head-to-head with double Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott – who also claimed a trio of victories at the 2015 European Track Championships in Switzerland last month – was given star billing and the pair didn’t disappoint as they lit up the Siberian pine boards with blistering racing.

Trott (Matrix Fitness) took the win in the women’s points race with Archibald (Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International) having to settle for third behind Laurie Berthon (France).

Archibald and Trott, alongside Berthon, drove a savage pace launching one attack after another, gaining a lap on the field and looking equally strong in the sprints.

But Archibald admitted she was thwarted by her own choice of tactics, giving herself a thorough berating as she warmed down on the rollers afterwards.

“It wasn’t one of my finest races,” she said. “I just kept making mistakes. I think I had one moment I was happy with in the whole race. It felt like I was constantly being marked from behind.

“My main strength is attacking and trying to get a gap but I just didn’t have it today. You need legs 10 times as big if you are not riding well with the head. I didn’t have either.

“It is human nature to always expect more of yourself and I know I’m probably being dead annoying by not being happy with third.”

While her frustration was understandable, Archibald has come a long way from the slightly awkward, coltish fawn who won the Scottish junior keirin and sprint titles back in 2012 having newly made the transition from Highland grass track racing.

Fast forward to the present and Archibald is, in cycling terms, a piece of precision engineering. Alongside Trott, she is a mainstay of the Great Britain women’s team pursuit squad and a strong contender for medal success at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio next summer.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Charline Joiner (Team WNT) was the next highest placed among the Scottish contingent in the points race with fifth.

Neah Evans (Scotland), having looked lively to win two sprints, lost a lap after a crash to ultimately finish second bottom of the field.

Archibald, meanwhile, was back to her usual chipper, upbeat self after the women’s elimination-scratch race, a curious hybrid between the two disciplines.

She produced one of the most daring moves of the afternoon launching a brave solo attack maintained over eight laps.

Trott caught and swept past her on the penultimate lap to take the win, while Archibald finished second. The rest of the field was left trailing in their wake.

Berthon was a distant third, while Evans finished fifth and Joiner sixth.

It was a similar picture in the women’s scratch race with Trott again victor and Archibald second. Rebecca Raybould (Poole Wheelers) took third.

Trott made it four out of four with a win in the elimination race holding off Berthon and third placed Evans. Archibald was eighth.

“I’m pretty pleased with how it all went,” said Trott. “I really like this track and have lots of good memories. I won my first ever World Cup omnium here and the points race at the Commonwealth Games. It is somewhere I enjoy racing.”

Archibald admitted that she had lost her nerve a tad in the elimination race. “It’s been a tricky head day,” she said. “Sometimes when you convince yourself you aren’t going well it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

The men’s point race was won by Owain Doull (Team Wiggins). Freshly returned from altitude training in Tenerife, it showed as Doull gained three laps on the field to garner a tally of 80 points.

Andy Tennant (Team Pedalsure) finished second with Jacob Ragan (The Nab Racing) third.

Among the men’s field all eyes were on Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) making only his second track racing appearance since winning Olympic team pursuit gold at London 2012.

He finished sixth in the points race and was sanguine about that result. “To be honest, I haven’t got the same feeling as I used to on the track,” he said. “I’ve got my road legs over the last few years.

“I do missing racing on the track but I have been concentrating on the road and taking that as far as I can.”

Unlike Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins, Thomas said he had no current aspirations to repeat his velodrome glory in Rio.

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford has already confirmed that the 29-year-old Welshman will focus on stage racing rather than the Classics in 2016.

“I will go into next year as a stage racer but drop-in and do the odd classic,” he said. “This last year has opened my eyes to the future. I want to give everything to that.

“The Tour de France will be the biggest goal. To go there and be a good back-up for Froomey [Chris Froome], but to also think about myself more in the first week and let the other boys do the work. Hopefully then I will have that bit extra left at the end that I possibly didn’t hold onto this year.”

Jon Dibben (Team Wiggins) won the men’s scratch race with Sam Welsford (Orica-GreenEdge) second and Marc Hester (ONE Pro Cycling) third.

The women’s sprint saw Victoria Williamson (Great Britain) emerge triumphant with Melissandre Pain (France) second and Scotland’s Ellie Richardson (Edinburgh RC) third.

Pain won the keirin with Williamson second and Kyra Lamberink (Netherlands) third.

Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy made a fleeting return to the track that bears his name as he led out the parade lap for the youngsters competing in the HOY Future Stars events.

Lewis Stewart (Scotland) had a successful outing with wins in both the HOY Future Stars points race and scratch race to top the standings at the end of the evening.

Absent from the action was Scots Callum Skinner and Mark Stewart who will represent Great Britain at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in New Zealand from December 4-6.

Read Katie Archibald’s latest column in The Sunday Herald next week