Talking Shop with Tour Series Champ Ed Clancy


Talking to the rider with the most wins in the Tour Series, Ed Clancy (JLT Condor), double Olympic champion and all round good guy …

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Talking Shop with Tour Series Champ Ed Clancy

When a rider beats another like Steele Von Hoff (NFTO) who has shown he’s world class in the sprint, he’s got to be special but then we already knew Ed Clancy (JLT Condor) was just that!


The double Olympic champion has now won eight rounds of the Tour Series since it began in 2009 and in doing so, has beaten the very best from around the world. Sprints in the crits, especially this year, are not like those in a road stage of a pro race.

They’re messy and pretty much out of control and Clancy thrives in that, racing on instinct and using his seated power from the Team Pursuit to sprint long. Clancy has done every single Pearl Izumi Tour Series round in 2015 as well as other circuit races on weekends and is still in awesome form.

The likeable red head who is the athlete I’ve enjoyed interviewing most over the years will be in Bath on Thursday for the final round of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series before heading off to the Velothon pro race in Wales.


With half his team away in Korea and other riders ill, it means riders like Ed are needed for the Tour Series race after race and what a revelation Ed has been. Eight wins in the series makes Ed the most successful rider in the history of the Tour Series and he’s still racking them up and in the form of his life a year out from the next Olympics.

“I feel I have had a good run of form so I don’t mind doing them all” he explained before the race on Tuesday. I saw Ed challenge Steele Von Hoff (NFTO) in Motherwell before finishing second to him in Canary Wharf. Ed then bounced back and beat Steele in London on Saturday and then again in Peterborough.

The two can now be seen warmup on the circuit together, chatting before doing their best to beat each other in the racing. “At Canary Wharf, I would rather have won than finish second but in hindsight, Steele is a world class sprinter from a world tour team and I looked back on it on Friday morning and thought, ‘What do I expect!’”

“I can’t expect to beat a guy like that and it’s just good to be in the same race as him. So I was pretty happy with Thursday, and then Saturday (London) was real special”.

Being ever modest as Ed always is, the London Nocturne winner explained “I spoke to Steele and he was a bit boxed in with a lap to go so I don’t know if that sprint was a true fair race but nonetheless it was real nice to get the win”.


These two, Steele Von Hoff (NFTO) and Ed Clancy (JLT Condor) seem to be enjoying the challenge of sprinting against each other. Both nice guys who do win!

“We have a lot of London sponsors and its race that our team had never bloody won so it feels good to have finally nailed it.”

Seeing Ed Pearl Izumi Tour Series is a real pleasure. I’ve grown up in this job working with Ed since 2004 when he was a raw recruit to the academy at GB and ‘won’ his world title in 2005 in Los Angeles. Just 19, like his teammate Mark Cavendish, Clancy soon had the likes of Bradley Wiggins talking him up and saying he was the best man 1 rider in the team pursuit in the world.

Ed still is but far from being hidden away in the pro peloton in Europe or in the track centre at Manchester doing drill after drill, the British public and those us at the races get to see him race and what a privilege that is.


When he attacked solo in the closing laps at Peterborough, it was a sight to behold and then that sprint, well, what can I say other than what an awesome rider and what a fan I am. They always say that a happy rider is a successful one and when asked how he feels about doing the Tour Series, Ed replies “It’s good, I enjoy it a lot”.

“We (GB) are planning on doing a few weeks of them next year (Olympic year) and it’s a good laugh. I don’t know if it’s a bad thing but I enjoy it more now we’re not on the overall. I look at One Pro Cycling and Madison Genesis and those guys will be stressing and it’s a stressful place to be especially if you don’t have great form”.

“Whereas us, we have a do or die attitude. We go into a race like this and if comes down to a sprint, and I’m in the thick of it, then great, if not ,so what, we haven’t lost anything (team wise). It’s a good way to be so am enjoying it.”

On his success and form, Ed says, “I feel like I had one of my worst years last year. I couldn’t do anything right. The Tour Series went okay but after that, the Commonwealth Games and World Cups, I just didn’t have it and kept getting ill. With Heiko (Salzwedel), I’ve turned the corner and have renewed enthusiasm”.


When I spoke to Ed at the start of the year, he was hesitant about the training he was doing but success at the worlds followed. Now he says “I’m still not sure about the training we’re doing as next week we’re at home (10 days) and then off to altitude for a few weeks”

“It’s just so different and I can’t see what’s working and what’s not but I think by August we’ll have a good idea. There’s going to be a bit of an Olympic rehearsal at the Revolution at Derby and then we can evaluate and see what is working and what isn’t. Are we in a better place than we were before London (2012).”

Whatever the outcome of that, Ed says “I’m really positive about life now. Look how well Tennant (Andy) is going. I feel good and you saw Brad on Sunday who is obviously flying. There’s also Doull (Owain), Burkey (Steven), and Dibben (Jon).”

“We have plenty of guys to make a cracking team (Olympic Team Pursuit) and when we put that together in Olympic year and touch wood, everyone stays healthy, I think we can have a good crack at the Olympics”.

At Canary Wharf, Ed’s ‘boss’ in the Team Pursuit, Heiko Salzwedel (below) was watching and I asked what feedback Ed got from Heiko seeing how hard and fast the racing was, something that reminds me of World Championship bunch races on the track.


Ed laughing, recalled the moments after the race saying “I’ve just finished second to Steele, and a I’m little disappointed and Heiko comes running over, grabs my SRM box and he’s over the moon because all he’s interested in is the peak power, average power, heart rates and so on. He doesn’t care about the result, just the numbers. It made me laugh”.

“While he doesn’t care about the result though, he’s happy we’re at the front and we’re feeling good and doing the numbers. He’s happy with all the lads and there is a real positive vibe in the team (GB Team Pursuit)”.

Ed will now do the Bath Tour Series, Velothon in Wales, and then do a Omnium race in Italy. He also has a break at home before some training at altitude. Then it’s back home for the Olympic dress rehearsal at Derby.

Asked if doing the Omnium was a short straw ‘job’ or whether he wanted to do it, Ed replies “it has been hard work doing it the last few years and I didn’t do it last year but I want to look at it again this year”.

“Why not. It’s one year to go (Rio 2016) and I only have to do one or two of these qualification events and one or two World Cups, if it’s going to plan. It does mean another potential grab at a medal and worst case scenario, I’ll go to the qualifications event and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll decid the Omnium is not for me and I’ll concentrate on what we do best (Team Pursuit).


So do the Tour Series races compare to the brutal bunch races on the track? “Yes” was the reply. “Something like Redditch or Isle of Wight is very similar to a Points race scenario for me. You have tired legs and after five or ten minutes, you’re hanging off the back and its damage limitation and that is what the omium is like for me in three out of the six events so its good practice!”

Finally, back to the Pearl Izumi Tour Series and that win in Peterborough when yet again, Steele Von Hoff and Ed sprinted it out for the win. “I felt good today” Ed said after coming off the podium. “From the start, it was the usual tactics of waiting for a sprint but there were things going all the time that looked dangerous and kept coming back and then going again”.

“I followed a few moves but not many. Then one move I had a good feeling about it went and I looked around and we were away, four of us. Then I saw Steele comes across which is bad news but I drove it early on to get it going.”

“Then after that, I didn’t know, if we were going to get caught as the only rider prepared to ride was David McGown (Pedal Heaven) and Chris Lawless from Team Wiggins. I’m a sprinter, I didn’t want to ride, Steele didn’t want to ride, Madison (Genesis) and One Pro (Cycling) didn’t want to ride and were looking at each other and it was super tactical”.

“Everyone was bluffing and double bluffing, and I went away on my own for a lap which is usual for me but I got my head down and gave it some. It was different race for me and I haven’t ridden like that for a long time and it felt good to be attacking”.


LoL, love this pic … Ed 10 years ago and part of the World Championship winning team in Los Angeles. Now, a star of the road and track.

“The last lap was super tactical and Steele and I were looking at each other and neither wanted to bring McGowan back because we’d be knackered for the sprint. Then, Lawless put in a big turn and then I took it up early and then stalled”.

“I went for a super long sprint out of the corner and then I started to die and thought Steele was going to come past but then I ran into the slipstream of McGowan and I just held on to the line. I only caught him with 75 or 50 metres to go”.

“It reminded me of the national crit champs when I went past James McCallum with 25 to go … At Peterborough, it was touch and go whether we were going to catch David. I was all about who was going to crack first (and chase) and I cracked first. I thought I’d take it up and see what happens and fortunately I caught him at just the right time and close enough to the line that Steele couldn’t catch me!”

Thanks to Ed for the super interview yet again. Sadly, with GB work beckoning, we won’t see a lot of him after the Tour Series!

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