IT says much for John Archibald’s rapid rise within Scottish cycling circles that when his younger sibling, Olympic champion and world record holder Katie, makes an appearance at a cycling event north of the border, she is identified by many simply as “John’s sister”.

It would be overdoing things to suggest Archibald has overtaken his younger sibling in terms of profile but he is certainly classed by many as the most-improved rider on the Scottish cycling scene. The 26-year-old, who works for his family’s bedding company where Katie once worked, has made his name on the road over the past couple of years, winning the Scottish 25-mile time trial championship in 2016 before going one better in 2017 by retaining the title and breaking Graeme Obree’s long-standing Scottish record.

The latest development in Archibald’s burgeoning career is his switch from the road to the track with the aim of qualifying for Team Scotland for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which begin in just five months. It is quite a turn of events for Archibald who, until a few months ago, hadn’t even considered the possibility of making his Commonwealth Games debut.

“When the road racing season came to an end, Scottish Cycling approached me and asked if I’d be interested in doing any track work,” he said. “So, for the last 15 weeks or so, I’ve been down the track giving it a shot.”

There is a tendency to assume that track cycling isn’t too much of a leap from road cycling but Archibald admits that becoming a track specialist hasn’t been that easy.

“The track is surprisingly different,” he said. “The fixed gear has been tricky and the other hard part is following the black line. When you’re going 50 or 60kmph, that’s harder than it looks but it’s so important to get it right because if I cycle on the red line rather than the black for the entire pursuit, I’ll be about four seconds slower. So that’s something I have to learn.”

Archibald’s attention is now on the Scottish Championships, which begin at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome on Friday. It will give the Glaswegian the opportunity to make the qualifying criteria required for selection for the individual pursuit in Gold Coast. Performing when it really matters is never a foregone conclusion but having dipped inside the qualifying mark once already and missing out a second time by just half a second, the signs are positive that Archibald is on his way to do what is required to

qualify for the Commonwealth Games.

“I’m feeling pretty confident,” he said. “It makes logical sense that I wouldn’t be doing my best pursuit within 12 weeks of first trying it so you’d hope that the fact that I’m close to making the time already is an encouraging sign.”

The Archibald name may be closely connected with cycling these days but it was in the pool rather than on a bike that Archibald thought he would achieve sporting success. From the age of 11 to 21, Archibald swam competitively and even won silverware on the national stage.

“I took swimming pretty seriously and I really enjoyed the training,” he said. “I really wanted to do well and if I’d had the opportunity to go to a Commonwealth Games as a swimmer, I would have jumped at it. But I was never good enough.”

The harsh reality of work hit Archibald and he realised that 5.30am pool sessions were not realistic. He began commuting to work on his bike and he has, as they say, never looked back.

Being still a relative novice in the world of elite cycling, it is certainly handy to have easy access to one of the best cyclists in the world in the shape of his sister. Katie has gone from strength to strength and with world, Olympic and European gold medals in her trophy cabinet, there are few better people to turn to for advice.

“I don’t see Katie all that often because she’s down south or away competing so much but we’ll encourage each other,” he said. “I’ve asked her lots of questions and she’s really helpful, and if she’s not sure, she’ll ask one of her coaches at British Cycling and pass the answer on to me. How well she’s done is amazing. I’ve always marvelled at athletes in other sports who hit a peak but don’t settle for that, they keep raising the bar and it seems that’s what Katie’s doing. It’s incredible the leap she’s made.”

Archibald admits he remains uncertain as to what exactly his plans for next year are as Commonwealth Games qualification is currently dominating his thoughts. What he does seem certain of though is that the opportunity next weekend to secure Gold Coast selection is one that he must not pass up.

“It would be really special to get to the Commonwealth Games,” he said. It’s an opportunity not to be wasted – and it’s not an opportunity you get twice in a lot of cases. I’m almost 27 so there’s not going to be a lot more opportunities like this for me. If I didn’t make the team, it would feel like a real wasted chance so I’ve got to put absolutely everything into it.”