Olympic gold medallist Katie Archibald hopes her closeness with housemate and local hero Neah Evans can help them land Tour Series glory in Aberdeen.
Archibald, 25, who won the team pursuit with Great Britain at Rio 2016, is part of a Scottish Cycling select team going in Thursday’s women’s elite race.
She will team up with Cuminestown’s Evans – who won scratch race silver and points race bronze at last year’s Commonwealth Games for the Scots – as well as rising star Anna Shackley.
Another young talent, Zoe Watters, was also on the team, but has pulled out with injury.
Nevertheless, Archibald – who also has world and Commonwealth gold medals to her name, and will also race in Motherwell – thinks the team will be a force to be reckoned with on her first visit to the Granite City.
She said: “I was asked in an email from Marc McKay, the head endurance coach at Scottish Cycling.
“He wanted to send a Scottish team into the Scottish rounds.
“Hopefully we can do some good things. I’ve rode in the Motherwell round before, but never the Aberdeen one.
“Neah Evans, who’s also riding, has done Aberdeen before.
“We’re riding with a younger cyclist Anna Shackley.”
Evans – who won the team Tour Series race in Aberdeen with Storey Racing – and Archibald live together in Manchester, where British Cycling are based.
She added: “Me and Neah live together. It’s her home turf.
“We’re pretty close, but we’ve never actually raced together on the road.
“It’ll be a different dynamic to all of the track stuff we do, and will require a different type of understanding, but hopefully we’re a well-oiled machine.
“It was meant to be the four of us.
“Anna Shackley is still a junior, she’s probably one of the strongest Scottish juniors there is, but still young nonetheless.
“There was another rider called Zoe Watters, who has unfortunately crashed and I think is needing jaw realignment surgery, so she’s unable to ride.
“So we’re down to three.
“But I think it’ll be quite nice to race with Anna, in the expectation she’ll be a rider we’ll see more of in the future and could one day be team-mates with.”
The Granite City round of the Tour Series has been hugely popular with the public in its first two years.
Its route will start and finish on Broad Street this year, as opposed to Union Street, but the city centre racing is expected to once again prove a success.
There will be support races during the day, and triple Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy is once again expected to go in the men’s elite race in the evening’s finale.
Before taking to the streets, Archibald and Evans will be on a diplomatic mission to get north-east children on bikes.
She said: “It’s something I’m a very much looking forward to.
“I’ve been about, but I’ve never been to Aberdeen or into the city centre.
“We’re coming up the night before and I’m spending the morning going to a couple of schools.
“So I’ll get to see quite a lot of Aberdeen on my trip, it should be fun.”
“Neah’s going to one, I’m going to another and we’re tag-teaming up trying to convince kids to get on bikes.”
For Archibald, the summer season this year is a bit different to normal when she would normally sign for a professional team and be involved in stage racing – she has opted to remain unsigned.
With the madison – which she won in Gold Coast – included in Tokyo 2020, she’s pared back her commitments, freeing her up for an Aberdeen cameo.
She said: “The last couple of years, I’ve rode for professional teams.
“I’ve done a full road season through the summer, stage racing and a few of these Tour Series (stages).
“However, this year I’m unsigned and it’s totally different.
“It’s probably a year too early to be cutting everything back and focusing on track, but we’ve had a new addition to the Olympic programme in the sense there’s now a medallist for the Madison, which means a new challenge.
“I’ve ended up taking a bit of a step back from the road, which means it’s still a privilege to have things like this and race for Scottish Cycling.”
Archibald is happy to admit she’ll be trying to add a couple of Olympic medals to her career haul in Japan next year.
She said: “There are three medal chances for a rider like me. That would be team pursuit, madison and omnium.
“I want to be selected for team pursuit and madison and go and win them. So does everybody else, but that’s the plan.”