TalkTime: British Crit Champ Ed Clancy

On the 29th of July, an Olympic Champion and World Record holder, Ed Clancy, will be looking to keep the British Circuit Race champion’s jersey in the Rapha team. VeloUK talks to Ed about that race and a little event next year in London …

Start Sheet for Circuit Race Nationals & Previous winners of the Circuit Race Championship follow this interview.

Chatting to Ed Clancy

The second Road based championship of 2011 is set to take place in the very pretty town of Beverley in East Yorkshire on July 29 and ready to take his place on the start line is the rider many regard as the best Team Pursuiter in the World, Ed Clancy. The circuit race championship has been keenly contested for many a decade but in recent years with the Halfords Tour Series being so important to the British teams, the stripy jersey has taken on a new importance, and to the winner, it may even help them with their bargaining power come the end of the year as teams look for any angle to get their rider on TV.

The championship goes back to 1979 when there was a professional one with that first winner being super Sid Barras who can be seen at races these days as a manager. It did not become an open championship until  1996 when the British legend John Tanner won it and riding the championship on the Friday night in front of  a huge crowd will be many previous champions including the aforementioned Mr Tanner (Sportscover), as well Ed Clancy, Dean Downing, James McCallum (all Rapha Condor Sharp), Rob Hayles (Endura Racing) and winner of the professional circuit race championship back in 1984, Malcolm Elliott (Motorpoint).

The finish last year as James McCallum is swamped in the final metres and Clancy takes it from Wilkinson.

One former champion who won’t be in Beverley because of some race in France is Mark Cavendish who won the race in 2005.

Talking to Ed Clancy before the Colne Grand Prix, he wasn’t so sure of his form and then promptly went and won the race in a Rapha 1-2-3-4. In the circuit race championships in Beverely this year, Rapha have no less than nine riders so over a tenth of the field will be in the all black of the Rapha colours and Clancy admits he isn’t so selfish as to ride for himself to win the title again but does hope that it remains in the Rapha team. With so many riders in the race, and such strength in depth for crit racing, Ed’s team will go into the race like Team Sky did in the road race championships, overwhelming favourites  and if the other teams do not get their act together and work as a team for a specific rider, the men in black may well successfully defend the title and take all the other medals as well.

If the last two circuit race championships are anything to go by that may well be the case but with Endura Racing fielding eight riders including a former champion and medallists, they at least have on paper the team to challenge Rapha for that title. Motorpoint to and if any team is going to spring a surprise, it will be that one!

Ed wins in Aberystwyth in the second round of the Halfords Tour Series

However, the way Rapha have ridden this year is a lesson to the other teams as to how to control a race. To first set the agenda for the race and put the others on the back foot and then control the race, especially in those final five or ten laps when the speed is kept so high that any rider wanting to get amongst them is going to have ride very fast indeed just to be in with a  chance. Asked how it has been being national circuit race champion for much of the time his close friend, Geraint Thomas, has been national road race champion, Ed replies “it’s been good but it hasn’t changed much for me. I have ridden as well with the jersey as I do without and haven’t stood out any more than normal. It’s been great having the stripes though and was great to win it last year. To win a national title on the road is great of course but it has probably been better for our sponsors in the Halfords Tour Series.”

“…it was good to have a white skinsuit ‘cause it makes you feel flash!” he added smiling.

Looking ahead to the national circuit race championships, Ed says “it would be great no matter who wins in the team (Rapha Condor Sharp). It will be great to keep it in the team and who ever has the legs, we’ll ride for them and there won’t be any selfish thoughts from me of trying to hang on to it for another year if I’m not the right man for the job. I have been struggling since the Tour Series has finished to be honest. Last year I struggled through the Tour Series and then I couldn’t stop winning and so it has been a little bit upside down this season. I felt like I had a really strong start to the Halfords Tour Series and the stage races at the start of the year were really good as was the Tour of Korea. I feel like I have fallen off a cliff a bit since I crashed in Woking though!”

“You have ups and downs in every season and it seems I’ve been hanging out in a slump for the last few weeks.”

Ed said before the race in Colne that he felt quite fresh and his rivals and teammates saw just how fresh when he won the race in a bunch kick. Many have said this year that Ed has been the ‘boss’ of the peloton in the final few laps of the race and when I asked him has his role changed in a crit having moved over from Motorpoint to Rapha this year, he replied “In the Halfords Tour Series I played that role especially when I was going well. I played that role more in Peterborough/Colchester where I felt like I had the legs to do good things.  If there is someone on the front with real good legs and two teammates following them and in the Tour Series where the first three riders count,  even if I blow and finish fifth or sixth ,the other two will probably roll off my wheel and carve out a win or something similar.”

Ed wearing the white of British Champion gets a good place on the grid being champion

“Later on, when I was struggling a bit, it wasn’t so straight forward and I was sneaking around in the wheels and following  and letting the two Deanos (Downing & Windsor) sort out the stuff up front. So I don’t think my role has changed , it’s just in the crits, the strong guys find their way to the front and it just ‘happens’. I’m happy to be as team player though as I have had my day this year after a good Tour of Korea and a good Halfords Tour Series with a win in there (round 2, Wales)…”

Asked about highlights of the year, Ed says “the races I’m going to remember the most are Colchester and Peterborough (Halfords Tour Series) because of the way we dominated the race. After we’d built up a lead in the first few rounds, we were having fun. We were the strongest team by far at that point and we were enjoying the racing. On top of that, I enjoyed the Tour of Korea where I made some progress on the road. I appreciate it’s not the Tour de France, but I achieved things personally. It was a UCI 2.2 ten day stage race and typically I am usually good for half a day or one or two crits before I start to get tired so to go away from it with a first, a second and a third on different days in the Tour riding against guys like Jaan Kirsipuu (over 130 professional wins including four stages in the Tour de France), it was good to be mixing with a lot of old pros and getting involved in the leadouts and so on. I hadn’t done a stage race that long or that successfully before.”

London Beckons

The Team Pursuit ‘dream team’ with Wiggins and Thomas joined by Ed Clancy (leading) and Steven Burke

This time next year though, it won’t be the circuit race championships he’ll have on his mind but the London Olympics. So is doing more road work helping his preparation for the track where speed is such a crucial part of the effort.  “If I was to concentrate a 100 per cent on the road, I would be better at it at the expense of perhaps my top end on the track.

If you look at Swifty who didn’t get selected for the worlds this year, if you look at him the year before, he was really strong on the track and not so good on the road, so you can switch it over but for some , it takes time to make that switch. I am not worried about losing my speed on the track riding stage races and so on. I have been dropping in on the track all the way through the summer and I will continue to do more and more this winter and next summer, my road aspirations will be put completely to one side. Sure, I will ride the crits and road races but there will only be one thing on my mind, and that’s London”.

Ed says that during the summer he has been concentrating on things like standing starts and peak power work when training on the track and in his words, “wanging around on the upright for the omnium and trying to keep in touch with both events. I haven’t done a lot, just dipping in here and there.  My peak power and kilo capability are pretty much the same as last year while my aerobic strength and endurance has got better. So I think I’ll be in a better position for London. It will be interesting to see how it goes with Brad and G back in the team though. You saw at the start of this year that once we have everyone back without much preparation, we rocked up and did a time (3:55.438) that would have won us the Worlds by a decent margin, albeit on a different track.”

The big question though is whether Ed concentrates solely on the Team Pursuit or both that and the Omnium?

“I’ll try and do both” he says. “The Team Pursuit is first as it’s more likely to be a successful opportunity for a medal and besides, I love Team Pursuiting and off the back of that, should I get selected for the Omnium, I will put more work into that as well.  We’re looking good for Omnium qualification as that has gone pretty well and in every Omnium I have ridden, four or so, I’ve medalled in everyone except for the Europeans where I was fourth and that is a pretty good record and maybe one I won’t be able to keep should I ride more of them. Also, if Brad, Pete, G or Swifty want to have a go, then they will have to ride a World Cup or the Worlds  and I’m guessing that Brad or G may ride the London World Cup because it will probably be the only time they will be available. I will probably ride the Europeans or the World Cup in Kazakhstan.

World Cups 2010/11: 4-6th of Nov,  Kazakhstan | 1-3rd Dec, Columbia | 20-22nd Jan, China | 17-19 Feb, London

“I’m not stupid though and if you look at Brad and Gez in the Tour de France, they offer something I can’t in a race like the Points as they are so much more aerobically powerful than I am and hence why they are up there in the Tour de France. There are things I offer though like the kilo and flying lap so I’ll put my case forward and leave it to the selectors. It is the TP all the way and I’m really up for that.”

Finally, asked whether he sees the next 12 months being totally busy on getting ready for the once in a lifetime opportunity of racing at a home Olympics, Ed says “I will probably have a sneaky break after the Kazakhstan World Cup should we go or if not, then after the Euros but to be honest, after the Tour Series I had a break, the best part of two weeks riding the bike when I felt like it and chilling out. I’ll maybe have a week easy over Xmas and then after that we’ll have two or three day breaks here and there but we will be pushing on for the Games then and the closer  it gets, the bigger the motivation gets and the less you worry about playing on the motorbike or kicking a ball around. We’re going to be dialled in on the job and you won’t want to do daft distractive things that is for sure!”

Ed Clancy, number 1 in Colne – who will be number 1 in Beverley on the 29th?

1 Edward Clancy Rapha Condor Sharp
2 Graham Briggs Rapha Condor Sharp
3 Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp
4 Ben Greenwood Rapha Condor Sharp
5 Kristian House Rapha Condor Sharp
6 James McCallum Rapha Condor Sharp
7 Tom Southam Rapha Condor Sharp
8 Andrew Tennant Rapha Condor Sharp
9 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke Rapha Condor Sharp
10 Thomas Moses 100% ME
11 Dale Appleby – Metaltek
12 Tom Barras – Metaltek
13 Stephen Gallagher – Metaltek
14 Anthony Gibb – Metaltek
15 Richard Hepworth – Metaltek
16 Robert Smail – Metaltek
17 Jason White – Metaltek
18 Simon Wilson – Metaltek
19 David Clarke Endura Racing
20 Robert Hayles Endura Racing
21 James Moss Endura Racing
22 Evan Oliphant Endura Racing
23 Robert Partridge Endura Racing
24 Scott Thwaites Endura Racing
25 Callum Wilkinson Endura Racing
26 Ian Wilkinson Endura Racing
27 David Lines Endura/Pedalpower Development Team
28 Lewis Craven Herbalife/
29 Jack Cutsforth Herbalife/
30 Andrew  Hawdon Herbalife/
31 Alastair Kay Herbalife/
32 Stuart  Reid Herbalife/
33 Will Berjgfelt Motorpoint
34 Ian Bibby Motorpoint
35 Malcolm Elliott Motorpoint
36 Tobyn  Horton Motorpoint
37 Johnny McEvoy Motorpoint
38 James  Sampson Motorpoint
39 Pete Williams Motorpoint
40 Robert Watson RVO Racing
41 Gary Adamson Science In
42 Adam Duggleby Science In
43 Alistair Rutherford Science In
44 Stephen Adams Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
45 Thomas Copeland Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
46 Daniel Duguid Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
47 Kit Gilham Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
48 Russell Hampton Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
49 Steve Lampier Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
50 Tom Last Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
51 Tom Murray Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
52 Simon Richardson Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team
53 Tom Bustard Sportscover Strategic
54 Kevin Dawson Sportscover Strategic
55 Collin Humphrey Sportscover Strategic
56 Duncan Moralee Sportscover Strategic
57 John Tanner Sportscover Strategic
58 Christopher Daddy Star Bikes RT
59 Simon Gaywood Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha R.C
60 Jake Hales Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha R.C
61 Matthew Higgins Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha R.C
62 James Millard Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha R.C
63 Jamie Newall Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha R.C
64 Michael Smith Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo/Alpha R.C
65 Matt Cronshaw Team Raleigh
66 Matt Gee Team Raleigh
67 Richard Handley Team Raleigh
68 Liam Holohan Team Raleigh
69 matt jones Team Raleigh
70 Matt Kipling Team Raleigh
71 Steven  Burke Team UK Youth
72 Gruff Lewis Team UK Youth
73 James Lowsley-Williams Team UK Youth
74 David  McGowan Team UK Youth
75 James Stewart Team UK Youth
76 Ben Simmons Team Wiggle
77 Dean Shannon Twenty3c-Orbea
78 Jack Pullar
79 David Shackleton Wilsons Wheels Race Team

(thanks to Jim Hendry)

2010 Beverley- 70 mins + 5 laps
1. Ed Clancy, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
2. Ian Wilkinson, Endura Racing
3. Jonny McEvoy, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
4. Marcel Six, Obea For Goodness Shakes
5. James McCallum, Endura Racing
6. Peter Williams, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta
7. Simon Holt, UC Bergamasca
8. Matt Kipling, MTS Cyclesport
9. David Lines, Endura Racing
10. Matt Cronshaw, Rapha Condor Sharp

2009 Beverley- 70 mins + 5 laps
1. Russell Downing, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
2. Jeremy Hunt, Cervelo Test Team
3. Rob Hayles, Halfords Bikehut
4. Dean Downing, Rapha Condor
5. Malcolm Elliott, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
6. Jon Mozley,
7. Ian Wilkinson, Halfords Bikehut
8. Graham Briggs, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
9. Tom Barras, unattached
10. Simon Gaywood, Corley Cycles

2008 Beverley- 70 mins + 5 laps
1. Dean Downing, 2. Rob Hayles, 3. Tony Gibb

2007 Otley – 1 hour
1. James McCallum, 2. Ed Clancy, 3. Matt Cronshaw

2006 Horwich. – 64 km
1. James Taylor, 2. Tony Gibb, 3. Adam Blythe

2005 Otley, West Yorks -  47 km
1. Mark Cavendish, 2. Russell Downing 3. Ian Wilkinson

2004 Hillingdon 80 km
1. Colin Roshier, 2. Greg Sandy 3. Rob Enslin

2003 Llandudno – 51 km
1. Russell Downing, 2. Dean Downing 3. Bryan Taylor

2002 Newport, Wales  -  60 km
1. Dean Downing, 2. Mark Kelly, 3. Neil Swithenbank

2001 Newark
1. Chris Newton, 2. Dean Downing 3. Bryan Steel

2000 Birmingham – 62.4 km
1. Rob Hayles, 2. John Tanner, 3. Anthony Malarczyk

1999 Bury St Edmunds – 60.6km
1. Chris Walker, 2. Rob Reynolds-Jones 3. Chris Lillywhite

1998: Haverhill – 72 km
1. Chris Walker, 2. Chris Williams 3. Dan Smith

1997 Bury St Edmunds – 72 km
1. Simon Cope, 2. Joe Bayfield 3. Mark McKay

1996 Bury St. Edmunds – 73.3 km
1. John Tanner, 2. Mark Walsham 3. Jon Clay

Professional Criterium Manchester
1. Jon Clay, 2. Mark Walsham 3. Chris Lillywhite

Amateur Criterium – Bury St. Edmunds – 75.4 km
1. Sam Quinn, 2. Roger Hammond 3. Jimmy Jones

Professional Criterium Milford Haven – 58 km
1. Neil Hoban 2. Dave Rayner 3. Bernie Burns

Amateur Criterium Gorleston – 70 km
1. Dave Williams 2. John Charlesworth 3. Matt Stephens

Professional Criterium Crystal Palace – 66 km
1. Chris Lillywhite 2. Spencer Wingrave 3. Simon Cope

Amateur Criterium  Wigan – 70 km
1. Roger Hammond, 2. Jeremy Hunt 3. Mark McKay

Professional Criterium Cardiff – 100 km
1. Neil Hoban, 2. Dave Baker 3. Keith Reynolds

Professional Criterium Cardiff – 80 km
1. Rob Holden 2. Hilton McMurdo 3. Mark Walsham

Professional Criterium Worksop
1. Rob Holden 2. Hilton McMurdo 3. Adrian Timmis

Professional Criterium Cardiff – 90 km
1. Paul Curran 2. Mark Walsham 3. Chris Lillywhite

Professional Criterium Leek – 100 km
1. Mark Walsham 2. Jon Walshaw 3. Nick Barnes

Professional Criterium Crystal Palace 100 km
1. Tim Harris 2. Chris Lillywhite 3. Mark Walsham

Professional Criterium Leek – 84 km
1. Paul Sherwen 2. Steve Joughin 3. Phil Thomas

Professional Criterium Hull – 80 km
1. Dave Miller 2. Malcolm Elliott 3. Steve Fleetwood

Professional Criterium NEC, Birmingham – 90 km
1. Malcolm Elliott 2. Bill Nickson 3. Keith Lambert

Professional Criterium Stockton on Tees – 81 km
1. Keith Lambert 2. Dudley Hayton 3. Steve Jones

Professional Criterium Newport, Gwent – 80 km
1. Phil Bayton 2. Phil Corley 3. Bill Nickson

Not Held

Professional Criterium Telford – 90km
1. Bill Nickson 2. Sid Barras 3. Barry Hoban

1979 (first running of crit champs)
Professional Criterium Milton Keynes – 90 km
1. Sid Barras 2. Ian Banbury 3. Jack Kershaw

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