British Cycling has announced that Ed Clancy has withdrawn from the Great Britain squad for the next round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in New Zealand due to his on-going back injury and will undergo surgery next week. He will be replaced by Academy rider Joe Holt.
Clancy is considered one of the key riders in Great Britan’s team pursuit squad after being a gold medal winner in 2008 and 2012. Clancy usually leads off the team pursuit quartet, using his power and ability to get the team up to record breaking speed.
He was also considered the favourite to ride the Omnium event for Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Olympics. His injuries could now mean that Mark Cavendish has a better chance of riding the multi-discipline event next summer. Cavendish is expected to ride in the Hong Kong round of the World Cup in January to help secure his qualification.
Clancy slipped a disc in his back after a training session in mid-October.
"It's one of those freak accidents," men's endurance coach Heiko Salzwedel told Sky Sports.com at the time. "He just turned to pick up his bag and his disc slipped."
He was forced to miss the European track championships – where Great Britain won the team pursuit title – and the Cali World Cup event in Colombia – where Great Britain failed to qualify for the medals positions. Last week he was selected for the second round of the Track World Cup in New Zealand (Dec 4-6) but now faces a difficult recovery to full fitness after surgery.
“Ed has been struggling with his back and he needs the operation,” said British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton in a statement from the federation announcing Clancy’s operation.
“Someone of Ed’s calibre is obviously a big loss to the squad but we believe we have the riders capable of stepping up in his absence, allowing him to focus on his surgery and rehabilitation. Joe Holt is a talented young rider and the experience of travelling to New Zealand and competing at that level will stand him in good stead going forward.”
Last week Great Britain named a young team for the men’s team pursuit as senior riders like Bradley Wiggins took a break. Academy and under 23 riders Germain Burton, Mark Stewart, Chris Latham and Oliver Wood will all travel to New Zealand.