Interview: Ed Clancy – Next Stop Worlds


Olympic champion and road star in Britain, Ed Clancy’s next stop is a trip to Cali for the Track Worlds in Columbia

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Ed Clancy’s career on a bike is very much a season of two halves – the track during the winter and a summer month or two if there’s a major Games on and during the Spring and Summer, the road season and events like the Tour Series.


Celebrating is something that Ed Clancy knows a thing or two about! Here a win in Aberystwyth at the Tour Series

The RCJ rider is the most winningest rider in the Tour Series making him a very valuable asset to any team never mind the fact he’s an Olympic star. He’s come a long way since 2005 when he rode his first Worlds in the Team Pursuit and is now more experienced in the event than the coaches at the level they are racing at.

Last weekend, he was ‘training’ for the up-coming Worlds at Revolution 44 and collecting flowers for his girlfriend Natalie who had just celebrated her birthday (good work Ed, she’s a diamond!). He was in good form as well, winning the flying lap Madison with George Atkins but failing to break his own record in that event set in the previous Revolution event.

The next race for Ed though will be a tad important; the Track Worlds in Cali (Columbia, 26 February – 02 March). Ed explained that the week before Revolution was an easier week for him in training after three weeks of hard work post Christmas and New Year. “We get back to work on Monday as the next two weeks are selection weeks for the Team Pursuit before we go to Columbia” he explained.

It, the Track Worlds, certainly seems to have come around quickly and Ed admits the Worlds do seem to be getting earlier and earlier. They were in late March and early April pre last Olympics but now a month earlier. “It means you have to be switched on over Christmas and New Year” Ed says before adding “on the plus side, I get back into the road racing earlier.”

Looking ahead to the Worlds, the aim is to get selected for the Team Pursuit and go for the win out there. In 2013, their seemingly only foe in the event, the Aussies, beat them well in the final to win the rainbow jerseys again but Ed has plenty of others from his many years in the event. Five World titles and two Olympic Golds plus a world record or three along the way is a rich pedigree for one of the most relaxed and talented riders in the peloton.


The start of a big career in the Team Pursuit for Ed Clancy (centre). The meanies at the UCI didn’t give him a rainbow jersey there but Chris Newton loaned him his gold medal for the photo. Ed has gone on to win plenty of his own stripey jumpers. L-R: Rob Hayles, Steve Cummings, Ed, Chris Newton and Paul Manning.

2005: Team Pursuit Gold (Ed rode the first round only)
2007: Team Pursuit Gold
2008: Team Pursuit Gold ( Olympic Gold too)
2009: Team Pursuit 4th
2010: Team Pursuit 2nd | Omnium Gold
2011: Team Pursuit 3rd
2012: Team Pursuit Gold (Olympic Gold too)
2013: Team Pursuit 2nd

In 2010, Ed won the World title in the Omnium as well and in 2012, the Olympic Omnium Bronze medal but is unsure yet whether he’ll ride that event at the World Champs in Cali. “We’ll have to see how selection goes” Ed says. “Dibbo (Jon Dibben) has been riding well in the Omnium and was 4th in the Mexico World Cup”.

“We’ll have to see if they want to go for age and experience or give Jon a shot at the Worlds. Either way, I am happy. Jon, should he get the ride, will do a good job and my focus is as always, the Team Pursuit. But, if I can ride another event alongside that, then great.”

Selection for the Team Pursuit, is as ever a tough one but Ed, known as the World’s fastest man 1 in the Team Pursuit is such an established part of the team it would be difficult to see him not in the line-up. Others up for selection include fellow Olympic champion Steven Burke, Andy Tennant along with Sam Harrison (part of the Worlds team in 2013), Owain Doull and Jon Dibben.

“Sam (Harrison) is looking good this winter”says Ed. “He’s famously inconsistent but when he’s going good, he’s really good and I think he’s stepped up significantly in 12 months.”


With the track in Columbia at 1,000 metres above sea level, I asked Ed whether times there will be quicker than those at a sea level track? At the first of this season’s Mexico World Cups last year, World Records were broken all over the place in the Sprint events but look back at Cali World Cup in 2102, and the times are quite slow.

“Riding at altitude is faster for the Kilo and Flying Lap perhaps but I don’t think you’ll see anything massively faster in the Team Pursuit. The sprinters will go quick but whether we see a load of world records like we did in Mexico, I’m not so sure.”

“The longer the race, the lack of oxygen starts to catch up with you so it’s mainly the sprint events where the altitude pays dividends. The Team Pursuit World record though is not out of reach for a team that is going really well…”

Ed’s Road Season
It’s Commonwealth Games year so whilst Ed’s road season will be interrupted by his day job on the track, with the Track Worlds being earlier, he will get onto the road quicker in 2014. Whilst all his teammates at RCJ are out in Oz sunning themselves, Ed has been back in England with the day job.

“We have a good bunch of lads this year” Ed says “and at times like this, I don’t feel as much a part of the team as I’d like to but at the same time, I’m doing the track and wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Ed will not get to defend his growing winning record at the Eddie Soens Memorial at Aintree (twice a winner (2013 & 2009) as he will be in Columbia when this year’s event is on (March 1) but says he is expecting to do the Roy Thame RR which he won last year, as well as the Jock Wadley.


Ed celebrates again as the organiser Carl Lawrenson stays safe away from the champagne sprayed at the photographers…. that’s me.

“It’s going to be quite relaxed for the first month or so on the road but as soon as we hit the Tour Series, that will be a big deal for the team”.

With Ed having so much success in the Tour Series, and Tom Scully too making his mark last year, Ed and I spoke about whether something like the Tour Series is an event a track rider can do well in?

“Crits are more explosive efforts” Ed explained “and suit a Madison or Points race rider down to the ground so Scully and Kneisky or a good bunch racer on the track should fit into the Tour Series nicely. They tend to have good bike handling skills, know how to race well and are fit enough to get round. It ticks all the right boxes.”

“On the hilly courses though, then you tend to see the real strong road riders like Kristian House and Liam Holohan come to the front.”

Ed spoke about how the SweetSpot run Tour Series has been a good thing for the road scene here in Britain with a lot of new teams springing up around it and he’s looking forward to this years event with a very much stronger RCJ team.

Ed Clancy Bunch racing 2014

Ed on the ‘upright’ bike at Revolution 44. Notice the Alpina narrow bars (Dolan Bikes) in use.

Change to Winter Training
Whilst Ed’s teammates are Down Under with plenty of hot weather to train in, the Olympic Champion has had a change to his training programme here in the UK over this winter. “This year more than ever, we have tried to concentrate on the track and give it a big track push and see how that works” Ed explained.

“So we haven’t done that much serious work on the road outside of long rides on the weekend. We recently scrapped a Majorca camp to do ten days on the track so I guess time will tell how that has worked.”

“The last warm weather training camp was after the first Mexico World Cup when we went to Majorca for nine or ten days but apart from that, we’ve been hacking round the track in training and doing Revolutions. We’ve also had race simulations on our upright track bikes whilst a few of the lads have been doing track leagues too.”

“It’s a different approach but it’s a non-Olympic year so we need to try new things.”

New things indeed. The sport never stops evolving as do the training methods for various disciplines and the Track Worlds in Cali will see those experiments evaluated in the heat of battle on the boards. Good luck to Ed and the GB team heading for Columbia … God speed I think the saying goes ….


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