Interview: Olympic Champion Ed Clancy


Chatting to the ever popular star of crits & track racing, Ed Clancy, double Olympic Champion and record holder

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Ed Clancy is one of a few Olympic champions we get to see racing a lot in Britain. During the summer, he’s ripping up the crits and riding road races, winning races and showing he’s one of the fastest sprinters in the country. Then, in the summer, it’s the track season and his ‘day’ job donning the GB colours and helping his teammates in the GB Cycling team win titles.


On Friday, the most experienced Team Pursuiter in the world, will be competing in yet another major competition. The laid back and laugh a minute athlete will be racing the World Cup at Manchester. Asked how the form is after a very narrow win over Russia in the Europeans, Ed replied after a long pause and very thoughtful moment, “um, we’re doing all right. We won the Europeans and it’s always good to win.”

“You can become blasé about winning that sort of stuff riding for GB. The Russians were going well but having that said that, when you have ridden 3.51’s, 3.52s, you always want to hang on to that. You have to stay real though and let go of that stuff for a while because it’s not going to happen.”

I put it to Ed that of the four in the Europeans, and probably on the track at Manchester, three of them prepared and were part of the team at the London Olympics; Ed Clancy, Steven Burke and Andy Tennant. Ed agreed adding “And Andy could have rode in theory so essentially we have good riders here.”

Why they are slower now than in London, Ed explains “we’ve just come off the back of a road season and we don’t have the same sort of training camps like we do in Olympic year and that all adds up.”


Asked if the training in Olympic year is a lot different to the ones in between, he replied “yes. Every road ride you do in Olympic year, isn’t about the Tour Series, or the Tour of Britain. It’s purely about that one or two Team Pursuit rides you have to do in the middle of summer. In Olympic year, you’re always in a controlled environment. GB do a real good job looking after you in Olympic year.”

“You’re never out of the training camp really and when you are at home, you have nutritionists and sports scientists flying around to everyone all the time. So, I think we did an alright performance at the Europeans all things considered.”

“At the World Cup, we’ll want to do an even better job in the Team Pursuit and go a bit quicker.”

Asked if it’s going to be a busy winter, Ed’s answer highlights what disarray the international track season is in with only two World Cups confirmed. “We don’t know. There are World Cups we don’t know about yet. I don’t know what I’m riding next week though, never mind during the winter!”



Flashback: 2005 and Ed (centre) rode the first round but never got a jersey or Gold medal. Since then, he’s won a houseful of both along with World records.

“If I am going to ride the Worlds Omnium, I am going to have to do a World Cup. Originally we thought I’ll do it at Manchester but it’s the same day as Team Pursuit and I want to ride the Team Pursuit of course.”

“These are not my decisions though but I would like to ride Team Pursuit but I need to ride an Omnium. So will I go to Mexico (second World Cup) on my own and do it there or is the whole team going or is an Academy team going.”

“Right at this moment, I don’t know the answers to what I will be doing on Friday. Whether I’ll ride qualifying for the Team Pursuit and then get on with the Omnium or just do the final of the Team Pursuit and do the best I can in the Omnium. Or just scrap the Omnium and ride the Team Pursuit and do an Omnium elsewhere!”

“We don’t as yet know where or if there is going to be a third World Cup.” The one thing we do know is the Worlds are in Cali (Columbia)! We’re trying to be flexible with the track doing general work. We trained through the Europeans and we’ll train through Manchester to a certain extent. We’ll have some sort of taper I’m guessing.”

Note: as this was written, GB announced who is riding what in the world cup, see below.

The road season 2013
The track is just part of what Ed does though. Whilst it was quite spectacular to watch him win the Scratch race at the Revolution meeting last Saturday night, it’s also the same to see him winning big bunch kicks in the Tour Series and so on.

Looking ahead to how he approaches the road season in 2014/15, he explains “The one next year with the Commonwealth Games is a funny one. I am guessing though next year will be similar to this year but with a track event halfway through it.”


“It’s similar to the Olympic year where we did most of the Tour Series and then you get on the track. Being the Commonwealth Games, we probably won’t dedicate as much to it as we would the Olympic Games.”

Looking back at 2013, he agrees he had a good year and dethroned Dean Downing as the most ‘winningest’ rider in the Tour Series. “Those Tour Series things are hard to win. Even if you are a quick finisher, it’s hard to get to the finish these days.”

“But I really enjoyed it. I enjoy the road perhaps as much as the track, at least as much, and I have had a real good year with the team and am happy I am sticking there next year.”

Asked how the new signings including known fast finishers Graham Briggs and Chris Opie, will change the dynamic of the team managed by John Herety, he replies “Me, Opie, Briggsy, etc are known as fast finishers but Briggsy and Opie can climb alright too. Me not so much!”

“When Briggsy is on form, like he was in the second half of this road season, there aren’t many who can get rid of him on a climb. I think the hardest Tour Series round we’ve had, the one at Durham in 2012, I think he was fourth or fifth and that is a hard circuit to get round for a so called sprinter.”

“So I do think we have a strong team next year. John has done well as JLT still want that development side of the team but I think they’re also keen to get some big wins and results.”


Anyone who knows Ed will admit he does seem to be pretty happy with his lot and why wouldn’t he. Asked if life is better outside of the pressures of Olympic year, he admits for certain there is less pressure and expectation outside of the Olympics.

“I do miss the fact you have everything at your disposal though in Olympic year. The resources you have for your cycling in Olympic year, it’s almost unlimited whereas in other years, like at the track worlds, we’ll have limited training camps and new bits of sport science and that”

“It’s not quite as exciting when you’re not trying to change the game and set world records and instead just going round developing teams and picking up points. Its not the same buzz”.

Team Sprint
Finally, many will remember Ed having a go at Team Sprint before returning to Team Pursuit. Asked if his flirting with the sprint squad was now dead and buried, Ed replied “the team sprint experiment worked alright but as we know, it didn’t make much of an improvement (to the times).”

“At the end of the day, I’m a quick track rider. I might not be a Phil Hindes or Jason Kenny, that quick off the line, but if I can get off the line with them, I can do a good last lap. So I think I’ll leave the Team Sprint on the side but you never know.”

“I haven’t given up on it completely. Let’s say for example coming into Olympic year for some reason man three (Team Sprint has three riders) is struggling then I’ll stick my hand up and say I’d like to be considered for selection. But that’s not the ideal way to do it and there are some good sprinters coming through as well so we’ll see.”

As fast as Ed is though, you can see how much he enjoys the camaraderie of the Team Pursuit. As proud he is of the Olympic bronze medal in the Omnium, it’s the Team Pursuit medals he enjoys. He’s a team player through and through and he will for sure, he a rider worth watching at the Manchester World Cup after what we saw at Revolution!

Good luck Ed!


Friday 1 November

Men’s team pursuit
Steven Burke
Ed Clancy
Owain Doull
Sam Harrison
Andy Tennant

Women’s team pursuit
Elinor Barker
Dani King
Joanna Rowsell
Laura Trott

Men’s team sprint
Kian Emadi
Philip Hindes
Jason Kenny

Women’s team sprint
Becky James
Vicky Williamson

Men’s omnium
Jon Dibben

Women’s scratch race
Dani King

Saturday 2 November

Men’s omnium
Jon Dibben

Women’s individual pursuit
Joanna Rowsell

Women’s sprint
Becky James
Jess Varnish

Women’s omnium
Laura Trott

Men’s keirin
Jason Kenny

Men’s individual pursuit
Steven Burke or Andy Tennant

Men’s points race
Owain Doull

Sunday 3 November

Women’s omnium
Laura Trott

Women’s points race
Elinor Barker

Men’s scratch race
Owain Doull

Women’s keirin
Becky James

Men’s sprint
Matt Crampton
Jason Kenny


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