Ed Clancy sets sights on Tokyo 2020 after victorious return to the track in Manchester
Great Britain men and women win team pursuit gold at 'home' round of Track World Cup
Ed Clancy couldn’t have asked for a more perfect return to the track if he tried, as Great Britain’s two team pursuit squads stormed to UCI Track World Cup victory in Manchester.
Not since that golden night at the Olympics in Rio 15 months ago had Clancy appeared on the boards in GB kit, but he ended his comeback in familiar territory – on the top step of the podium.
After a year on the road with JLT-Condor, Clancy was back on the track he calls home alongside fellow Olympic champion Steven Burke, Kian Emadi and Ollie Wood, where they simply blew their Danish opponents away in the final to win team pursuit gold in a time of 3:55.847.
Almost lapping their European counterparts, it was a far cry from their tussle with France in the first round – where the Brits only stole the win on the line.
Clancy has already pledged his intention to go for a fourth Olympic title at Tokyo 2020, having being part of the teams that has been victorious at three consecutive Games – making him the only rider ever to win three consecutive Olympic team pursuit golds.
“I’ve missed the boys, I’ve missed the team pursuit, I’ve missed the track,” he said. “That was a nice way to kick it off again at a home World Cup.
“We had a real tough fight to get in pole position after qualifying, and then we had a real tough one with the French after that.
“One hundred per cent I’d love to go to Tokyo and that is 100 per cent the aim.
“You never know when your time is going to come, and looking there at Ollie Wood at the back, I’d say out the four of us he was the strongest.
“I might have already had my day, but I’m going to give it a good go.”
It was a British clean sweep of the team pursuit as the women followed in the men’s pedal strokes to win gold on the Sunday afternoon.
The quartet – Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Neah Evans and Emily Nelson – were almost five seconds quicker than their Italian opponents in only their second race as a team.
“It’s a massive confidence boost for us and I think it’s a big statement to make,” said Barker.
“I think it was pretty unexpected. It’s one of the fastest times we have done outside of the
Olympics, so it’s a good place to be in especially at this point in the cycle.”
The gold rush had started the previous night for Barker and Archibald, however, as they paired up for their first international Madison together, to great success.
The Brits led on 25 points heading into the final sprint, six ahead of Belgian world champions Jolien D’Hoore and Lotte Kopecky.
They clinched the win in the final sprint, finishing two points ahead of their nearest rivals.
Archibald’s first gold medal could – and perhaps should – have come on Friday night as she missed out on the women’s omnium title, in a battle which went down to the final sprint.
The Scot won the elimination race, and was one point behind the USA’s Jennifer Valente ahead of the final lap of the points race, but the American won the final sprint to leave Archibald to finish second and claim a silver medal.
Fellow Scot Callum Skinner won Great Britain’s final medal of the weekend, winning bronze in the men’s kilometre time trial – his first world podium finish since his Olympic sprint silver in Rio.
Representing 100% ME, Skinner was set for silver with his time of 1:01.161, but Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer set a winning time in the final ride of the competition to knock the Brit down a step.
Meanwhile, in the men’s omnium, Mark Stewart recovered from a crash in the scratch race to finish fifth overall, before placing sixth alongside Chris Latham in the Madison.
The medals weren’t done, though, as Jon Mould – riding for Wales, as opposed to the British team – put in a gutsy ride to win scratch race silver.
Mould, who rides on both the road and track for JLT Condor and is likely to be at the Commonwealth Games next year with Wales, upgraded his bronze medal from four years ago – leading to hopes of one day standing atop the podium.
The fledgling men’s team sprint trio – Ryan Owens, Jack Carlin and Joe Truman – came agonisingly close to a second World Cup medal in succession with fourth in Manchester, meanwhile, just a week after winning bronze in Poland.
And in the women’s event the new-look partnership of Katy Marchant and Sophie Capewell displayed a promising performance to place seventh.
It was a busy weekend for Olympic bronze medallist Marchant, as the 24-year-old also recorded seventh and eighth place finishes in the 500m time trial and keirin, respectively, and reached the 1/8 finals of the individual sprint.
In the men’s sprint, Carlin, Lewis Oliva and Philip Hindes all reached the quarter-finals with Skinner eliminated in the previous round.
While in the men’s keirin, Truman won both his races to progress to the final, but placed sixth in the race for the podium.
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