2012 Games: Ed Clancy – time to rattle some boards

Olympic Champion Ed Clancy — “I’m guessing the Aussies are not going to go any slower than a 55 or56, if not quicker, but I’d like to think we will take the fight to them”.

That quote came after Ed was named in GB’s 16 rider team for the London World Cup starting on February 16. It’s a strong team, and as Shane Sutton, the head coach, said to Will Fotheringham of the Guardian “it’s as close to the Olympic team as possible.”

London will be about laying benchmarks, not just for the Brits but also all the other nations who will be keen to see where their rivals are at and none more than the Aussies who will be travelling from the other side of the World to take a good look at Britain’s Olympic team and track.

Ed in Team Pursuit mode which he says will be his only focus come London World Cup.

The Olympic nations competing on the track have only three events left of this Olympic cycle; the London World Cup, World Championships in Australia and then the London Olympics.

The time is over for experimenting says Sutton. “It’s just about going (there) and doing our best, putting in a solid performance and getting familiar with the Olympic Velodrome. After that, we can analyse where we are and if we then get our periodisation right, we can only go better.”

For the Men’s Endurance, the cull of riders wanting to be part of the Olympic Team Pursuit squad has continued and now only six remain for the London World Cup with one other, Sam Harrison, also in contention but side lined by a knee injury for the London World Cup.

The six left were back in Manchester this week preparing their legs for some serious pain in the weeks leading up to the London World Cup. Far from the atmosphere on Saturday night where there were 3,000 plus screaming fans making a lot of noise at Revolution 36, the national cycling centre is now a very quiet place and devoid of the excitement from a few days ago.

Not for nothing has the place got the nickname the ‘dungeon’.

The seats are pretty much empty except for perhaps the odd curious visitor and the green of those empty seats provides a dull background to some pretty serious work going on in the track centre. With the Australian selectors having named the Aussie ‘A’ team for the London World Cup, the GB team know they will have to be going quick to have any chance of beating the World Champions.

It won’t only be the Aussies who’ll provide a major threat however. Other countries like Russia are expected to be sending their top riders to get a close look at the Olympic track and just qualifying for the final in the Team Pursuit will be a tough challenge. For Ed Clancy, the programming of events will see him concentrate on the Team Pursuit, at least that’s his best guess three weeks out from the event.

“The format is that we have the Team Pursuit qualifiers on the Thursday afternoon and then the finals on Sunday, super Sunday for TV. That rules out any chance of me riding the Omnium” Ed explained in an exclusive interview with VeloUK. “I’ll be 100 per cent Team Pursuit for this one.”

Since Christmas, it has been a busy month for the Team Pursuit riders. On the second of January, they travelled to Majorca and that camp was around 9 to 10 days. Asked what the work load was like, Ed explained “We were on the track out there at Palma (Track Worlds in 2007)  two or three times just to keep in touch with the track work and the rest of the time we were doing threshold stuff on the climbs and a bit of team time trailing but nothing too intense.”

The riders then returned home for a short time before heading out again for their second camp of this month. “Again, we had a few track sessions and more team time trialling with some more specific drills and general riding. We’re still three weeks out from the World Cup though and it’s even longer to the Worlds so we wanted some endurance riding to carry us through this period.”

The squad have only just returned from that second camp and after an easy weekend, they were back on the track on Monday for a week of getting used to the track before next week when the training is ramped up again and it’s into race preparation for two weeks before heading for London.
The build-up for London says Ed, is not much different to that of other World Cups apart from the boot camp in December. He then adds that, in other World Cups, they have produced some pretty half decent rides and they expect to do the same again.

Having just returned from a road block, Ed has no idea how fast they’ll go as everything so far track wise has been on spokies, normal helmets and so on. But he added with the race kit coming out next week, he’ll have a better idea in a week or so as to what sort of times the team can do.

“Next week we’ll start to get a feel for where we are at and what sort of pace we can sustain. Then after that, the selectors will no doubt start to look at team selection by putting the stop watch on us pretty intently and picking the team from the longer race efforts.”

“We are certainly going to try and go quick and if we want to beat the Aussies and I’m guessing they’ll not be going any slower than a 55/56, if not quicker, I’d like to think we can take the fight to them.  We know we’re going to have to go quick to beat them.”

Times though will depend on a lot of factors and the bottom line will be going faster than all the other teams. Unlike previous years where riders like Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas have dipped in an out for the World Cup, this time round the likes of Geraint Thomas have been there for the duration. Joining ‘G’ has Ben Swift and Peter Kennaugh along with the others who have been part of the Team Pursuit for most of the last Olympic cycle, riders such as Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Andy Tennant.

What times come from the racing is anybody’s guess says Ed. They, the men’s endurance team,  haven’t as yet ridden the Olympic track and then there are things like temperature and atmospheric pressure to consider as its them that will affect the times the teams do. That said, Ed says that if the teams have good form, even if the track isn’t massively fast, the World record may yet still go.

Between now and the London Olympics, the team have three weeks of speed work including a taper which will vary from rider to rider. “It’s not like a full taper like we’d use for the Games or a really important championship” says Ed. “Some people will taper more than others. Like Geraint likes to keep the work going right up to the event and he’ll probably only taper for the last four days whereas I’ll start knocking off the big volume rides now and from now on just be going hard on the track.”

The Team Pursuit is where its at for Ed Clancy ever since he was on the Academy with Rod Ellingworth back in 2004.

As for the Omnium, Ed has no idea which of the GB Men’s Endurance riders will do it. He expects, all being well, to be man one in the Team Pursuit and as one of the World’s best Team Pursuiters, that should be a given but nothing can be taken for granted.

Is Ed stressed with the pressure as the time to enter the theatre of dreams gets ever closer? It doesn’t seem so as he matter of factly explains “there is no point stressing over the fact it’s in London or it’s your only chance to ride a home Olympics. It is what it is.  Everyone will turn up and do their best and what will be will be.”

“The fastest four or five will go to the Olympics.”

It is certainly a whole lot different to his last Olympics. After a successful Worlds where GB won the Gold at Manchester 2008, Ed and Paul Manning headed to Belgium. “The period between the Worlds and Olympics last time was a bit of a blur” says Ed. “We went to Belgium to ride for Landbouwkrediet and that was a bit of a disaster. We weren’t finishing any races and to be honest I just managed to turn it around in time for the Games.”

This year, post Worlds, he’ll return to the men in black (Rapha Condor Sharp)  to ride the Halfords Tour Series and prepare as meticulously as they have all year. First things first though, the London World Cup beckons and Ed for sure is looking forward to rattling those London boards!

Related Articles

Great Britain Team for the World Cup
Australian Team for the World Cup

Interview with Sir Chris Hoy
Interview with Jason Kenny

Rider List for the London World Cup


Thursday 16 February

18:00 – 22:00
Women’s 3km Team Pursuit – qualification
Men’s 4km Team Pursuit – qualification

Friday 17 February

12:00 – 16:10

Women’s Scratch Race – qualification (heats – 7.5km)
Women’s Team Sprint – qualification
Men’s Team Sprint – qualification
Men’s Points Race – qualification (heats – 20km)
Men’s Omnium – qualification, round 1 (1 lap flying TT) and round 2 (30km points race)

18:30 – 22:03
Women’s 10km Scratch Race – finals
Women’s Team Sprint – finals
Women’s 3km Team Pursuit – finals
Men’s Team Sprint – finals
Men’s 1km Time Trial – finals
Men’s Omnium – round 3 (elimination race)
Men’s 40km points race – finals

Saturday 18 February

9:00 – 16:40

Women’s 3km Individual Pursuit – qualification
Women’s Omnium – qualification, round 1 (1 lap flying TT) and round 2 (20km points race)
Women’s Sprint – qualification, 1/8, 1/4 finals, 5th-12th place
Men’s Keirin – round 1 and repechage
Men’s Omnium – round 4 (4km Individual Pursuit)

Saturday 18 February 18:30 -21:40
Women’s 3km Individual Pursuit – finals
Women’s Sprint – semi finals and finals
Women’s Omnium – round 3 (elimination race)
Men’s Keirin – round 2 and finals
Men’s Omnium – round 5 (15km scratch race) and round 6 (1km time trial)

Sunday 19 February

9:30 – 18:08
Women’s Keirin – round 1 and repechage
Women’s Omnium – round 4 (3km Individual Pursuit)
Men’s Sprint – qualification, 1/8, 1/4 finals, 5th-12th place
Women’s Keirin – round 2 and finals
Women’s Omnium – round 5 (10km scratch race) and round 6
Men’s 4km Team Pursuit – finals
Men’s Sprint – semi finals and finals

2012 London Olympics

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