Throughout December we will be revealing Cycling Weekly‘s top 50 British riders of the year.
We will be revealing the final top ten in this year’s list of top 50 British Riders in the December 25 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
NO. 13: ED CLANCY
Like Jamie Staff in the team sprint, Clancy sets the tone for the entire ride and that carries a responsibility all of its own. You have to strike out hard, but even, and that is a skill Clancy has down to a tee.
As he says, it is so easy to set off too fast and pay for it, plus interest, in the final kilometre. And when you are riding to a 3-55 schedule or faster, the pacing at the start becomes even more crucial, especially those first couple of laps before the team is fully into its rhythm.
Clancy taps it out like a metronome, knowing instinctively if it?s too hot or too cold. You can?t teach that kind of intuition, you?ve either got it or you haven?t. Luckily for Great Britain, it?s almost as if Clancy has a stopwatch where his heart should be.
It has been a year defined by clashes between Great Britain and Denmark, with the Brits coming out on top each time. The Danes landed a few blows, notably at the World Championships when they qualified fastest, but Britain?s response was to break the world record.
By the time of Beijing, confidence was so high among supporters of Team GB that the team pursuit gold was almost accepted as a given. The riders know they had to give it everything to get the top spot, which they did, setting another world record in the process.
It?s easy to overlook the fact Clancy is still only 23, a product of the British Cycling Academy?s first intake in 2004.
A highly-polished team pursuit rider, he is no slouch in the individual either. In October he rode the individual pursuit at the Manchester World Cup and turned in a 4-19, well clear of the second-quickest rider, to set up another gold medal. It was his first individual ride in competition since the 2007 National Championships, and his first at international level since the 2005 LA World Cup.
And if you accept that the warm, humid conditions of August in Beijing were quicker than on an autumn night in Manchester, it?s easy to see that a 4-19 in Manchester shows he would have been in the hunt for a silver medal in China.
On the road it has been a necessarily quiet year, with just a handful of serious run-outs for his Belgian Landbouwkrediet team. Every ride on the road was part of his Olympic preparation.
Next year he will race at home for Halfords Bikehut and it will be interesting to see how he fares. Clancy has that rare ability, a sprinter who can ride endurance events. It?s not a leap of logic to think he could have a very handy career on the road, particularly if he fancied carving out a niche as a lead-out man.
RIDERS REVEALED SO FAR
December 21: No. 14 Jamie Staff
December 20: No. 15 Shanaze Reade
December 19: No. 16 Paul Manning
December 18: No. 17 Sarah Storey
December 17: No. 18 Ross Edgar
December 16: No. 20 Chris Newton and 19 Wendy Houvenaghel
December 15: No. 22 Gee Atherton and 21 Rob Hayles
December 14: No. 24 Joanna Rowsell and 23 Simon Richardson
December 13: No. 26 Rachel Atherton and 25 Ben Swift
December 12: No. 28 Lizzie Armitstead and 27 Steven Burke
December 11: No. 30 Andrew Fenn and 29 Sharon Laws
December 10: No. 32 Peter Kennaugh and 31 Josh Bryceland
December 9: No. 34 Jody Cundy and 33 Liam Killeen
December 8: No. 36 David Millar and 35 Ian Stannard
December 7: No. 38 Daniel Fleeman and 37 Matt Crampton
December 6: No. 40 Jessica Allen and 39 Daniel Lloyd
December 5: No. 42 David Daniell and 41 Dean Downing
December 4: No. 44 Steve Peat and 43 Anna Blyth
December 3: No. 46 Jonny Bellis and 45 Jess Varnish
December 2: No. 48 Luke Rowe and 47 Michael Hutchinson
December 1: No. 50 Katie Colclough and 49 Chris Froome