SHAME will be a powerful source of motivation for Katie Archibald as she embarks upon the maiden Women’s Tour of Scotland today. The inaugural three-stage race will cover 350km in the course of the next three days, with the most notable stretch in Archibald’s case being the track which winds past her native Milngavie and up the Duke’s Pass to the north of Aberfoyle, a piece of road where many assorted members of the extended Archibald clan have pledged to locate themselves.

Given the big billing yesterday as Scotland’s greatest-ever female cyclist, Archibald feels privileged to be the figurehead behind this race – even if the sheer quantity of work which this 25-year-old does on the track, not to mention some dreaded rain, has been enough to dampen her expectations of herself.

But a desire not to be distanced on the early hills in front of her own kith and kin in order to keep herself in contention for what could be a bunch sprint at the stage two finish in Perth could just give her an extra edge.

“I don’t know if I feel important but I do feel privileged,” said Archibald. “It is definitely not one I wanted to give a miss. It is very, very important to me to be here.

“I guess that’s because I’ve got a taste of the excitement of people in Scotland for this race, with my friends and family all planning where they are going to be on the route,” she added. “If I wasn’t riding then I think I would be just as excited to be watching. I guess that if I can help them build a legacy then this could turn into a historic event.

“My expectations? I feel embarrassed to say that they are not very high. It is obviously a big home race and I am not turning up as prepared as every other rider here. I don’t know if I should admit that!

“Obviously if it comes to a sprint, I feel strong enough there, it is just about seeing how my roadcraft fares over the three days,” she adds. “They are gorgeous roads but obviously there will be technical elements, rolling roads, so I think it will be challenging. And when riders say they like racing in the rain what they mean is they like the fact that riders like me really don’t like riding in the rain. The rain isn’t my favourite, it is no velodrome.

“I guess everyone is looking at Stage 2, which is nice for me as it goes from Glasgow to Perth so will go along some of my home roads, over the Duke’s Pass and things like that. Once they get over those QMs [Queen of the Mountains points) it is a fairly flat run in, almost entirely downhill through to the finish.

“It might come down to worrying about the embarrassment of being out the back. Yeah. Driven by shame. That’s the best way, isn’t it?”

This is a rare chance outwith Commonwealth Games for Archibald to race for Scotland, flanked by her countrywomen Neah Evans, Sophie Langford and young Anna Shackley. And it comes amongst a field minus many of its big hitters, after a major crash in a bunch sprint at the Ride London event at the weekend left Elinor Barker, one of Archibald’s fellow Olympic and world gold medalists, with a broken collarbone. Australia’s Chloe Hoskins, another faller on the day, doesn’t make the start line either.

“The next one you go into you can be nervous about what happened,” said Archibald. “For me, the rain is my mental block. I have had few nasty crash in the wet and they can be unavoidable because when one person goes down, and everyone starts slamming on the brakes and everyone starts going down.

“Hopefully we won’t get to the end with 100 people still fresh as a daisy and ready to spring and fight for the finish line. That is what is really interesting about the Dunfermline finish, it is technically difficult going into it but the final 900m is just a climb through the park. It will be fast for an uphill but still very grippy, a very powerful climb and hopefully I will still be there to see how that goes! Stage two will be the trickiest to navigate. I think that will be a bunch sprint and it’s going to be fast so we will have to keep our wits about us.

“I’ve been out reccying a couple of finishes just yesterday. I’ve been saying how excited I was about this but it is only now that I’ve had that excited feeling in my stomach, just to be racing with a Scottish Cycling team. It isn’t often that we get the chance to pull on the same jersey. It tends to be every four years at a Commonwealth Games.

“Probably the rider with the most racing legs this season would be Sophie Langford,” said Archibald. “She has been getting some nice results in the national series and crits and the like. Neah Evans and I have been doing so much track work and are not as experienced this season on the road, but Neah has the legs on her for these punchy climbs. We also have a young rider in Anna Shackley who is at an age where she is getting better and better.”

Anna Christian, the national U23 time trial champion from the Isle of Man, was another looking at the forecast and grimacing. “It looks a bit touch and go,” she said. “But being from the Isle of Man, I guess it is just British weather. Being such a new race, no one really knows what to predict form it.”

Whether the rain comes at the depart in Dundee or not, by then Archibald’s nerves will have come. “Most races of this calibre on the road I wouldn’t have quite so much limelight,” she said. “But now I have my hands on the race book and been out on the roads, I am more excited than anything.”