SIX-TIME Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy has backed Ed Clancy to score individual Olympic gold in Rio in 2016, as long as the kilometre time trial is reintroduced.
Clancy was part of the British quartet that won gold at London 2012 in the team pursuit, smashing the world record along the way.
And while his three teammates of Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Steven Burke went out celebrating the night after their success, Clancy was up early the next morning to compete in the omnium.
The British rider grabbed a bronze in that event to go with his team pursuit gold and impressed Hoy most of all with his performance in the kilo (1km time trial) as part of the six event omnium competition.
Clancy completed the four laps of the Velodrome in a staggering time of 1-00.981min, less than a second outside Stefan Nimke’s world record achieved at the World Championships this year.
And considering that Clancy did it with three days of continuous cycling already under his belt there is no telling how much faster he could go if he approached it with a fresh pair of legs.
The Kilo used to be a staple of track cycling at the Olympics but was removed from the programme after 2004 to make way for BMX racing.
The last man to win the kilo at the Games was Hoy himself and the 36-year-old insists that should the kilo, as rumoured, return at Rio 2016 then Clancy is his natural successor for the top step of the podium.
“You have got some great kilo riders who are going to be retiring after London 2012,” said Hoy, who was helping to launch Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week 2013 alongside pupils from Brentside High School.
“That’s only going to work in Ed’s favour because he’s a special talent. You have got Steffan Nimke who is one of the greatest of all time. He just about broke the minute barrier at the World Championships in Melbourne, you have got numerous guys but they are coming towards the end of their careers if you like.
“Whereas with Ed we still don’t know what he can do because he has never done it fresh – he could do something very special indeed.
“He maybe needs the two or three days of competition before he does it to get his legs warmed up but to do a 1-00.00 at the end of an omnium with the strength in depth that he has he could be a definite contender for a gold medal in the kilo if it came back.”
But despite the staggering individual numbers Clancy remains very much a team player and Hoy admits that it could prove hard to tempt Clancy away from his beloved team pursuit.
“Ed is probably one of the most popular guys in the team,” he added. “He is such a nice bloke and so relaxed. He is very much a team player, he never talks about himself, he always talks about the team.
“He always sees the omnium as a nice little add-on where that is his chance to shine individually.
“But he doesn’t really relish that he likes to get up there and be one of the boys and he enjoys that camaraderie and that sense of togetherness that you get with the team pursuit.”
Lloyds TSB National School Sport Week is using the inspiration of London 2012 to encourage school sport participation across the UK. TO find out more, visit www.lloydstsb.com/london2012