Olympic cyclist welcomed home

THOUSANDS of people welcomed Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Ed Clancy to his home town in Yorkshire.

Huge crowds greeted the champion in St George’s Square in Huddersfield, where a gold postbox has been painted in his honour.

He won gold in Beijing four years ago in the team pursuit and the team again smashed the world record to claim to defend their title in London. He went on to pick up bronze in the six-discipline omnium.

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The cyclist, who was born near Barnsley but grew up in Huddersfield, told the Yorkshire Post he had had a great reception from crowds at the event and earlier in the day when he watched Huddersfield Giants take on Leeds Rhinos.

He said he had come to terms with the victory “pretty quickly” but the reaction to the wins in London were “in a different league” to those in Beijing and he had lost count of the number of autographs he had since signed.

“Even before Beijing, people were talking about London. It’s been fantastic – we’ll never seen anything like it again,” he added.

Kirklees Mayor Coun David Ridgway, who hosted a civic reception for the rider, said the celebrations were informal in keeping with wishes of the cyclist he described as an “excellent ambassador for the town”.

He said: “We’re all immensely proud of him, and congratulate him not only on what he has achieved for his sport, but also on being such an outstanding role model for our young people.”

A postbox in Town Street, Rawdon, near Leeds, was painted gold yesterday in honour of Paralympic cyclist David Stone.

The 31-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and rides a tricycle, won gold in the cycling mixed T1-2 road race on Saturday in a victory he described as “the best race of my life”, adding to the two golds he picked up in Beijing.

A first class stamp featuring the athlete goes on sale tomorrow.