sport

Clancy feels like a 'gatecrasher'

Ed Clancy admits his return to GB's endurance squad ahead of the Track Cycling World Championships has made him feel like a gatecrasher.

Clancy, a team pursuit Olympic champion at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, rode in the team sprint at last November's Track World Cup in Glasgow but has not made the cut for that event at the World Championships in Minsk, Belarus, which take place from February 20 to 24.

Instead, he has been named as part of an endurance group that also features his fellow team pursuit Olympic champion from last summer Steven Burke - back in action after missing the Glasgow competition - as well as Andy Tennant, Sam Harrison and World Championship debutants Jon Dibben, Owain Doull and Simon Yates.

Clancy insists he has no regrets about his team sprint "experiment", which earned him a silver medal in Glasgow, and feels confident, having worked for the last few days with the other endurance riders, that it has not really hampered him performance-wise in terms of team pursuit preparation for Minsk.

The 27-year-old does, however, concede that his comeback has presented some difficulties.

"There are a few young lads in the team, and I've known Sam, Burkey and Tennant a long time, but I don't really know the likes of Dibben and Yatesy," Clancy said.

"Just being around that group...I have been training with a completely different group and different set of coaches, and then all of a sudden I have made the phonecall to (men's endurance coach) Chris Newton and the lads are all speculating about 'is Ed coming back into the team and am I going to lose my place?'

"That is the hardest bit - just dropping into a different set of people.

"In terms of pace judgement and feel for time pursuit, that is difficult as well, but I have been doing it so long that it didn't take long to get it back.

"Just feeling like you are part of the team is the hardest bit.

"I do kind of feel like I have gatecrashed the team pursuit party a little bit."

It appears Clancy will not be riding the omnium - an event in which he won a bronze medal at London 2012 - in Minsk, and that he may drop back in the team pursuit line-up from his traditional starter position.

At last summer's Games, the Yorkshireman reasoned that while he was not "ideally suited" to the omnium, the team pursuit and team sprint were events in which he could realistically target Rio 2016 Olympic gold medals.

And following what has happened over the last few months, Clancy has not entirely abandoned thoughts of sprinting - although he has stressed he will not do any sprint-specific training programmes from here.

"Ultimately, I'm trying to line myself up for the best medal prospects I can in Rio," Clancy said.

"I thought if I could line myself up for riding team pursuit and team sprint, there would be two genuine potential gold medal events.

"That was the idea and in London it seemed quite real, quite possible. The numbers didn't quite stack up, but they weren't far from it.

"But getting there wasn't as easy as we would have liked.

"They named the team sprint (for the World Championships) not last week but the week before, obviously I wasn't in it and then there was the choice - they said you can have a place in the kilo (one kilometre time trial) if you want it, and you would be reserve for team sprint.

"So I went to have a little think. I even contemplated not riding the Worlds at all this year, just heading off to a road team and racing early with those guys.

"But then I thought, if nothing else, it would be interesting to see what effect the team sprint training had on the team pursuit for future reference, and I thought 'it is only a couple more weeks, so let's just hang with the track and try to make the team pursuit team'.

"I think if I was going to do it (sprinting) again, I wouldn't do a sprint-specific programme.

"I think the best way to go about it would just be to have real good form in team pursuit, because there is plenty of sprint work there anyway, and then just stick my hand up and say I am up for a trial for team sprint."