Clancy ready for tough battle in Melbourne

Brits have sights on sub 3:50 minute 4000m team pursuit

Ed Clancy has arrived in Melbourne, Australia ready for a stiff challenge by the local squads at this week’s International Cycling Union (UCI) Track World Cup’s second round. The British squad arrives down under as a marked team after it won the 4000m team pursuit in Manchester with the second fastest time in history - 3:54.395 minutes.

“There are a lot of people, especially the Kiwis and the Aussies, who want to knock us off our perch,” Clancy said. “But it’s up to us to hang on to it against the tough competition so we have to keep working hard, not rest on our laurels and try new things.

“We’ve still got to push forward and we’ve set our sights pretty high with trying to go sub 50 [sub three minutes 50 seconds for the 4000m team pursuit] in the next couple of years,” said Clancy of the nation’s bold goals.

Of the team that lapped Spain to win the team pursuit at last month’s Track World Cup, three riders be in action at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena. Clancy, Steven Burke and Andrew Tennant will all make the trip to Australia, with Geraint Thomas skipping the round.

Clancy says that while Great Britain is enjoying the benefits of massive funding leading in to the 2012 London Olympic Games. “That [Beijing] was our ultimate goal and we had a dream team with Bradley Wiggins, who has moved onto the road now, and Paul Manning, who has retired,” the 24-year-old Clancy said. “The British team has got plenty of money and a good system and has already found plenty of young guys to take their place.

“But it’s not just the dollars,” he said. “There are plenty of teams, in football and car racing, with loads of money but just don’t seem to get it right. The money helps, but the management is the most important thing with clever people at the top employing all the right people. We just have to get on our bike and ride as fast as we can.”

New Zealand’s outfit in Melbourne will feature the core of their 2008 Olympic team including Sam Bewley, who has recently signed with Lance Armstrong’s new RadioShack team, along with Marc Ryan and Westley Gough. Australia’s young quartet will be spearheaded by current points race world champion Cameron Meyer along with Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn.

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