Anna Shackley has her sights set firmly on a home world championships in Glasgow in 2023 after soaking up an unexpected Olympic debut in Tokyo.
The 20-year-old Milngavie native was among the young athletes to benefit from the postponement of these Games, gaining selection to ride both Sunday’s road race and Wednesday’s time trial, in which she finished 18th overall as Annemiek van Vleuten collected gold for the Dutch.
And after this first taste of major international competition, Shackley is even more determined to earn a place in two years’ time, when Glasgow is set to host a new-look combined world championships which will include track, road, mountain bike, BMX and para-cycling events across 10 days.
“I feel like I’ve learned a lot, even though I can’t pinpoint one thing,” Shackley told the PA news agency of her Olympic experience.
“I definitely really want to ride in the world championships in Glasgow now – a home worlds would be really nice.
“I definitely wouldn’t have got picked (for Tokyo) if it wasn’t postponed, so even with Covid and it not being quite the same Olympics it might have been, I’m very grateful for it because I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”
Shackley is in her first full season as a professional with the SD Worx team, and came into the Olympics on the back of finishing 25th overall and fourth in the youth classification at the Vuelta a Burgos in Spain in May.
Shackley rode Wednesday’s individual time trial after helping Lizzie Deignan in the road race (Martin Rickett/PA)
Having ridden in support of Lizzie Deignan in Sunday’s road race, she got her own chance to shine in the time trial, using it as an opportunity to develop her skills in a key discipline.
“I haven’t done a lot of time trials recently but want to get a lot better, so it was pretty insane to be here doing this as my first time trial in a long while,” she said.
“It was hard. Very, very hot and the climbs were a lot harder than they looked, but I’m quite happy it’s done and it was a good experience.”
Annemiek van Vleuten celebrated time trial gold after her disappointment in the road race (Martin Rickett/PA)
Van Vleuten’s victory was redemption for the Dutchwoman, who had mistakenly believed she had taken gold in Sunday’s road race, not realising Austrian amateur Anna Kiesenhofer had already finished 75 seconds earlier in one of the biggest upsets of these Games.
“I knew after the road race I was in super, super shape,” said the 38-year-old, who covered the 22.1km circuit in a time of 30 minutes 13 seconds to win by 56 seconds from Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser.
“Everyone was talking about everything else but nobody was talking about the performance. I closed myself off from social media and just kept the message that I was in super shape.
“I don’t think I needed the extra fuel. It was new challenge to park the negativity but I knew I was able to meet the challenge.”