Three-time Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy ready to say goodbye to cycling in front of a sold-out London crowd

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On Saturday night, at the Lee Valley Velodrome, Ed Clancy will close the curtain on a long and gloriously golden career in track cycling. Apart from – perhaps – the Manchester Velodrome, he couldn’t think of a better place to say goodbye to the sport which has won him three Olympic titles and six world titles.

“Twelve years ago I remember walking into this place when it was just a construction site,” he told Laura Kenny, media manager for Eurosport, before the event. first night of the London double program. “Then two or three years later … It was just a once in a lifetime experience, running in the Olympics at home.”

Britons Edward Clancy, Geraint Thomas (front), Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh (Reuters)

Image credit: Reuters

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“It’s the first time I’ve done a major international race on this track since London 2012, and the omnium there. Looks like it was yesterday, and that was nine and a half years ago. I feel my age, ”he said with a smile.

It was just a once in a lifetime experience, running in a home Olympics

The 36-year-old officially retired from the Tokyo Olympics, but was persuaded to shoot a skin for one (or four) final time (s) by this all-new competition.

“Tokyo was really my last big push,” he says. “This team pursuit, guys, the event, that meant everything to me. It didn’t quite work out this time around as it had on the previous three occasions. I enjoyed the Champions League on track as a warm-up, but I’m done.

Clancy admits he has not “led the life of a professional cyclist since Tokyo”. This is perhaps reflected in his results in the competition so far, but also in the high level of the competition itself. No one was able to come forward and get results.

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“The problem with an elimination race is that you have to be motivated enough to navigate it,” he said. “To be honest, I didn’t have that motivation there in Lithuania.” Clancy was the first rider eliminated from elimination at Cido Arena last Saturday.

He did, however, promise to do his best in front of British fans in London:

“I’m going to get stuck in this time. I took out my carbon shoes and put on special tires. It will literally be my last race weekend, and what a way to end it. “

The competition, according to Clancy, has got off to a good start, striking the long-sought balance between pure elite athletic competition, which can be somewhat exclusive, and an accessible form of entertainment that modern audiences demand.

“Maybe I’m biased, but track cycling is a good thing,” he says. “The race is short, intense, there is a gladiatorial atmosphere. I really feel like in the last ten, fifteen years something like this [Champions League] that’s what was missing. The World Cups and the World Championships are obviously great tests of human performance, and of how people behave under pressure, and I still think you understand that here, but with the atmosphere of entertainment as well. Of everyone I’ve spoken to at home, they love it on TV. It is going very well and I hope it will continue for decades. “

Unfortunately for cycling fans, it will be without Ed Clancy, as he assures Kenny that this will truly be the last time he takes part in a track cycling race. He will not turn his back on cycling entirely and will devote more time to his Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy, established eight years ago to help children develop their cycling skills.

It is going very well and I hope it will continue for decades.

He does not rule out returning to British Cycling on a professional basis either. Not yet, he said.

“The idea of ​​coaching and helping these boys is something that excites me, but I think it will at least be in a different role over the next few years.”

Whenever this happens it is sure to work. This great servant of cycling has always done it.

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