Rider Chat: Ed Clancy & His Worlds Win

Last Saturday we sat down in the warmth of the JLT Condor camper and spoke to Ed Clancy about that World Championship win at the Track Worlds two weeks ago

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Rider Chat: Ed Clancy & His Worlds Win

L-R: Charlie Tanfield, Ethan Hayter, Ed Clancy, Kian Emadi

March 1st and Ed Clancy, a three time Olympic champion, won another world title in the Team Pursuit, over a decade on from his first Worlds in 2005. Last Saturday, Ed was at Aintree, a long way from the heat and dry of an indoor velodrome and instead racing in the wet and cold on a pan flat circuit on Merseyside.

So no putting up the feet and resting on his laurels, Ed was ready to race again! “The Soens has always been the season opener for me” he explained as we sat in the JLT Condor motorhome out of the rain. “I have been here a few times before when doing the track worlds and you get back, and it’s just a pretty enjoyable way to start the road season off with never any pressure or stress”.
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The race last Saturday worked out well for him with teammate Jon Mould winning and third for Ed. It was though a very different effort as he went on to explain as we chatted about the World Championship experience in a team that only had one ‘name’ in it from the past – Ed himself.

“It was a different worlds for me without the usual crew of Tennant and Burkey being there but Ethan (Hayter) was amazing. The things he was doing were pretty unreal and the same with Charlie as well. For someone to come into the team from outside the programme, and the same with Dan (Bigham), that made it different”.

And for Ed, his sixth World title was just as exciting as ever. “It doesn’t get boring winning even when I’m 33 next week. It was really cool.” It wasn’t just winning though but the manner of the win that pleased Ed.

“To go ‘53’ (3 minutes 53 seconds) on Apeldoorn is shifting”.
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Ed then added that what happened at Apeldoorn was the future. “I remember a month or two after Rio taking stock, like where ‘are we now’ after we lost Brad (Wiggins) who wasn’t coming back, Doull had gone to team sky, Dibben too had gone to Team Sky, and whilst we still had me, Tennant and Burkey, to really go fast, we needed competition for places. We needed change and not just within the riders, and we have had that now”.

“We have Stephen Park (GB Performance Director) in there and Iain Dyer coaching us and all of a sudden things are looking up. I feel like the riders have got ownership of the programmes again and everyone is in a really positive place moving forward”.

“Of course, it’s uncomfortable when there is a lot of competition for a finite number of places but it’s what sport looks like and I think the reason we have moved on”.

I was talking to a very different Ed Clancy 13 years on from the Worlds in 2005. Back then, he was a shy(ish) young academy rider on the way up. Now, he’s an assured athlete who knows his craft and it shows.

“I have been the oldest guy in the team for a while, even back in 2012, I was like the old man in the team and then Brad came back into the fold for the final two years before Rio and took over, especially externally from a press point of view, he was team leader but it has changed a lot for me since 2005!”

Back in the day, 2005, at Ed Clancy’s first Worlds, when the team pursuit squad was quite a different animal to what it is now – Rob Hayles, Stephen Cummings, Ed Clancy, Chris Newton and Paul Manning

“I remember that well sitting outside the hotel in LA and Jill Douglas came round for the BBC interview and I had never done an interview in my life. Now, it’s different and at training with the team, we’re expected to put our two pence worth in about the training, how we’re going to race, the schedule and all sorts”.

“It’s different but I think I enjoy it more now than I have ever done to be honest”.

“We’re in a really good place moving forward. I really think Stephen Park is doing a great job of leading the whole operation and Iain Dyer has done a great job of coming in relatively last minute and putting a good team together for the worlds”.

“For the first time ever, there is now a little bit of emphasis on the interim events between the Olympiads which I think will serve us a well come the big day because it helps us grow. Okay, different for guys like me who have been there and done that. But, for the young kids knowing they have a chance of going to the worlds and fighting not just for medals, but the sharp end of the medals.”

“What will Ethan and Charlie take away from this – they will be buzzing and the world title we won ain’t going to slow those guys down. They have had a taste of the action and are going to want more and that is a good thing going forward for sure”.

The final topic we chatted about was his win at the Herald Sun Tour and performance on the road in Australia. It was a performance goal for Ed pre Worlds and he achieved that with a win ahead of the World Tour riders in the short prologue.
“There were a lot of keen guys there wanting to win that prologue particularly and it did give me a lot of confidence winning that. To be honest, I did that race and afterwards I looked back and by my standards, I was climbing well for the rest of the race.”

“When I went back to the track, I was pretty confident we were going to be in a pretty good place there too. But, to be honest, I was alright on the track but I wasn’t any better than good; I wasn’t exceptional. And that highlights how the track has moved on and you have to specialise in a four minute event. It’s the only way to go that fast.”

By way of example, we chatted about a rider who had won a silver medal in the Team Pursuit at the Olympics, the year before Ed made his debut – 2004 (Athens) – and that rider is Stephen Cummings. “He’s the perfect example” explained Ed.

“He is so so strong on the road. Imagine if you brought him to a race like this today (Eddie Soens which he has won as a junior). He’d ride off into the distance and you wouldn’t see which way he went.”

“But, put that same athlete in an event which requires big peak power, tolerating high cadence for four minutes and intermittingly hitting 700 or 800 watts; it is a completely different event to what it was and it highlights the fact to me that you can be in a really good place aerobically fitness wise and we rode well at the worlds, but if you want to start looking at doing 3.48/49 in Tokyo, we are going to have to keep that track thread in there”.

Thanks to Ed for the chat – always a great honour to have followed his career from the start and still see him at events for a chat …





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