Lee Valley VeloPark Legends: Ed Clancy
In the run-up to this year’s TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup in London, we are profiling some of the best of Britain’s riders who are legends on the boards of the Lee Valley VeloPark arena. Next up is Ed Clancy.
There is something about the Lee Valley VeloPark arena that brings out the best in Ed Clancy, who wrote his name into the history books not once, but twice at London 2012.
Clancy went into the Games already as a reigning Olympic champion, having played a pivotal role in the Great Britain men’s team pursuit quartet which claimed gold in Beijing.
Joining forces with Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins, Clancy demonstrated his potential to become an all-time great as they smashed two world records to top the podium.
It was a remarkable feat considering it was his very first Olympics, but it proved to be a glimpse of what was to come as the Yorkshire rider rose to the occasion again four years later.
He appeared to be at home from the off at the Lee Valley VeloPark, this time with Steven Burke and Pete Kennaugh teaming up with him and Thomas in the 4km event.
The quartet stormed through qualifying with an astonishing world-record display, finishing in a time of 3:52.499 to leave fiercest rivals Australia lagging more than three seconds behind.
So good was the time set by Clancy and his teammates, it was nearly a second quicker than the record they set when winning the World Championships earlier that same year in Melbourne.
It set them up perfectly for the next round, effectively a semi-final, in which they delivered a composed performance to see off Denmark and book their place in the final.
The gold medal race once again saw the GB quartet go up against Australia’s team of Jack Bobridge, Glenn O’Shea, Rohan Dennis and Michael Hepburn.
And having opened up an early lead after a rapid start, the GB quartet went from strength to strength as they pulled away from Australia and defended their Olympic title.
They ultimately came home in a barely believable 3:51.659 to break the world record they had set in qualifying in one of the noisiest races the Velodrome had witnessed.
It was only the start of Clancy’s love affair with the arena at London 2012, though, as he returned to the track just days later to compete individually in the men’s omnium.
While he wasn’t expecting a medal, Clancy went into the six-discipline event as the 2010 world omnium champion and went into the final two events in joint second place.
He won the flying lap on day one, finished 11th in the points race and fifth in the elimination race before jumping up to second overall after finishing runner-up in the 4km individual pursuit.
A tenth-place finish in the penultimate event, the 15km scratch race proved his undoing, but Clancy revealed afterwards that the bronze medal was more than he ever expected.
“I wasn’t expecting a medal entering the final event,” he said. “I thought it would be fourth place and a bit of disappointment. That’s why I was so happy to get a medal in the end.
“When I think about the big picture, looking back on this, it will be awesome.”
Clancy was also part of the quartet which won silver at the 2016 Track World Championships and the same medal at the 2012 Tissot UCI Track World Cup – the first competitive event at Lee Valley VeloPark.
See the stars of British Cycling #BackToTheTrack at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark at the 2018 TISSOT UCI Track Cycling World Cup series between December 14 and 16. For tickets and more information click here