HUDDERSFIELD’S Ed Clancy has his sights set on a well-earned extended break after a non-stop year to date – but not before guiding Team Halfords Bikehut to success at the Tour of Britain.
Unlike his Olympic team pursuit colleagues – Bradley Wiggins, Paul Manning and Geraint Thomas – Clancy decided against taking time off after claiming Olympic gold in August 2008, a decision he now regrets.
Clancy joined forces in a new quartet with Jonathan Bellis, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke at the World Track Championships in March, with the team pursuit crown surrendered.
The 24-year-old took stock and has since joined forces with Olympic, world and Commonwealth medallist Rob Hayles at Team Halford’s BikeHut, helping them to five Tour Series wins earlier this season and the overall title.
Team Halford’s will make their Tour of Britain debut in Scunthorpe tomorrow and Clancy admitted rest and relaxation will be the last thing on his mind over the next eight days.
“It was hard instantly after Beijing and in hindsight I wouldn’t have gone straight into another track season,” said Clancy, a former Holme Valley Wheeler.
“Only Stephen and myself continued – and we both struggled through the winter – not so much due to a lack of motivation, but because the atmosphere around the velodrome in Manchester was pretty flat.
“We didn’t win in Poland and you can’t help feeling you let yourself down – in terms of the track year it was pretty average.
“But all I have left now is the Tour of Britain and the Manchester World Cup and then I can have a half-season break just to get away from everything because I just haven’t stopped over the last 12 months.
“It would be great to finish the season off on a high and if anyone in the team – Rob, Ian Wilkinson and Andy Tenant – can get a stage win, that would great.
“We were only put together at the last minute but whoever is pushing on the strongest, we will support them all the way.”
Despite opting out of last year’s Tour of Britain following his Olympic heroics, Clancy is no stranger to the roads of the UK having last completed the eight-stage event in 2007.
Clancy – a track specialist – admits to being out of his comfort zone on the road but has been in impressive form winning the Eddie Soens Memorial Race in March and the Blackpool Nocturne last month.
And the former Shelley High School pupil believes stage four through Blackpool and the curtain closer in London represent his best chance of individual success this year.
“The stage in Blackpool probably holds the best chance for me – I generally have a good record there and have picked up two wins so far this year,” added Clancy.
“It is a big flat and fast stage and the finish is a real good straight which obviously I prefer, but also I think the last stage in London is also a real possibility.
“The last couple of weeks I have had to keep away from the track and try to do steady long hours on the bike in preparation for the Tour.
“But hopefully I will be feeling good and I can get through the first couple of races because that is where the challenge lies for me.”
The Tour of Britain is the UK’s biggest free to attend sporting event, attracting over a million spectators per year to towns, cities and communities across the country.
For further information visit www.tourofbritain.co.uk.