Newton’s Ed Clancy tells of his Olympic dream

Like sprinter Jason Kenny, Ed Clancy won gold medals in Beijing and London and is aiming for a hat-trick in Rio
Like sprinter Jason Kenny, Ed Clancy won gold medals in Beijing and London and is aiming for a hat-trick in Rio

Sir Bradley Wiggins aims for a gold medal at a fourth successive Olympics next month with an often unheralded team-mate targeting a third straight Games gold in the same event.

Like sprinter Jason Kenny, Newton-based Ed Clancy won gold medals in Beijing and London and is aiming for a hat-trick in Rio.

The 31-year-old is the consummate team man and both of his Olympic titles have come in the men’s team pursuit.

He is the one constant presence in the four-man, four-kilometres discipline from the last two Games, with Wiggins winning the event in China, but claiming the road time-trial title at London 2012.

Clancy, who won omnium bronze at London 2012, thrives on the camaraderie.

“Some days you look out the window and it’s hailing and you’ve got seven hours (training on the road) to do,” he said.

“It’s easier to do it with your mates. It’s easier to go the extra mile with your team-mates because you’re doing it with a good group of people.”

There was a time when Clancy, who was born and raised in Yorkshire but moved to Newton shortly before the 2004 Olympics, feared for his Olympic chances.

He required a back operation after slipping a disc picking up his kit bag following a training session last September.

He was immobilised and was only able to walk 12 weeks before March’s Track Cycling World Championships in London.

He defied expectations to step up, compete - and complete - the 4km in the gold medal race-off with Australia, when Britain were narrowly beaten.

“I was about 70 per cent at the worlds,” Clancy added.

“I can contribute a lot more to the team now than I could then.

“The selectors didn’t necessarily put me in the team for performance reasons, they just wanted me to be be part of the team and give me a bit of carrot.

“If I hadn’t ridden the worlds it would have been a long time since I rode a world class TP with the boys.”

Clancy’s place in the omnium is to be taken by Mark Cavendish, who is also reserve rider in the team pursuit.

Cavendish has not ridden a top-level team pursuit since bursting on to the road to great effect, winning his first Tour de France stages in 2008.

But Clancy has backed his friend to step in if need be, with the second round and final in close proximity on Friday, August 12.

“Until fairly recently he was quite average, but in the last couple of weeks he made massive gains,” said Clancy, speaking before the Tour, where Cavendish took the leader’s yellow jersey for the first time.

“I think right now you’d for sure have Cav as the fifth man.”

World champions Australia are Britain’s fiercest rivals for Olympic gold.

The expectation is that the world record - of three minutes 51.659 seconds set by Britain at London 2012 - will go.

“The goal now is to eat, sleep and dream about riding bikes and whatever will be will be,” Clancy added.