Exclusive: Ed Clancy in Astana

European Omnium Champion two weeks ago and now 4th in the first World Cup, Ed Clancy is proving over and over, he’s World Class in the event.

Related Link: Report from the Astana World Cup | Exclusive Interview with Sir Chris Hoy

The Omnium is a brutal event even for an endurance rider used to racing for hours on end. Six events plus a qualifier over two days will test the endurance of any rider and Ed Clancy has done enough to show that he’s one of, if not, the best Omnium rider in Britain. He was World Champion in the event a few years ago but does admit the event can be hit and miss.

Talking exclusively to VeloUK, Ed admitted he was happy with his fourth so soon after his victory at the Euros. “The Scratch race went well, the Pursuit went well and the Kilo went well so it’s been a  good second day” he said shortly after the event.

“I could have had a better first day but never mind. You can’t win them all! You look across the board, I don’t think there is anyone capable of consistently getting medals.  Even Kluger(winner in Astana) and Viviani are hit and miss now and again.”

That first day could have been more to do with the conditions than anything else with the heating turned right up in the Velodrome. “I didn’t know it was possible to get heat stroke inside the velodrome! It was so hot, it was absolutely ridiculous. Five litres of water must have gone over my head after the Points race! ”

Ed then went on to add, “it’s the Omnium where you can turn up with you’re A Game and things can roll the wrong way and that’s it. I could have ridden a better Elimination race yesterday and been in touch for a medal but it’s fine”.

Ed has admitted in the past that the timed events are his forte and he showed that with two wins (Flying Lap and Kilometre) and third in the Pursuit. Asked could he do better in the Scratch knowing he is so much quicker over a lap than his rivals, Ed replied “the Scratch race this time fragmented a bit more than usual and I only have limited aerobic resources at the moment.”

“I did win the bunch sprint if you like but it was so fragmented, there were a lot of riders down the road. I do what I can but I have to be careful not to go too far into the red (or as he said in the interview, exposing himself!, careful Ed!) because I won’t be able to sprint.”

“I think I made the best of what I had the last few days. We came out here to get points for Olympic qualification. Even though we were in a pretty good position before the Euros and after that, we were in an even better position, it’s been about consolidating and making sure that worst case scenario, that if things don’t go well in World Cups or the World Championships, we still have enough points to have a place at the Olympics.”

“The Euro’s was awesome for me and I’m pretty happy with fourth to be honest in this competition off the back of the Euros. The guys that beat me today were the same guys I was beating at the Euros.”

The trip to Astana, a pretty heavy one for most of the teams, was not just for the points though as Ed explained. “It’s also about getting more experience because I haven’t done a lot of bunch races  really and every time you get up there, you learn something new.”

Asked if there is time within his training programme to work on specific events, Ed replied “there could be. Coming here without the other lads around me has given me time to do some things specific for the Omnium like practice the first few k of the Pursuit because that is a real balancing act that event.”

“You can’t go out too slow and if you go too fast, just a couple of tenths a lap, that can really tip you over the edge for the final k.”

“So yes, I think I’ll have time to work on the Pursuit and also get on my bunch bike as well. It’s not just about me though. There is Peter Kennaugh, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas; they could all ride the Omnium. I don’t mind riding the World Cups and Euros and yes, I want to ride it at the Olympics, but I’m not going to pretend that I will be riding the Olympics. I’d like to but you never know.”

Ed is aware that Geraint Thomas is a very quick pursuiter and bunch race rider, World Junior Champion in the Scratch race for example, so he may challenge his best friend for a place in the Omnium but Ed also knows they will have to show they can be consistent in the events Ed is winning because as we see event by event, it’s not easy to have the same consistency in the bunch races as Ed does in the timed events.

Asked to comment on what he saw in the Team Pursuit in Astana where the Russians won in 3.56, he was calm saying “It was good. Heiko is a good coach and I’ve said before the Russians are coming.”
“But, if you look at the conditions, it was fast in there so it’s hard to equate for example with what we did in Appeldorn. You look at my Individual Pursuit, I went five seconds quicker here and you can’t improve that much in training in a few weeks. They are going to get better but they haven’t done anything ground breaking yet but that doesn’t mean they are not going to!”

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