Clancy sprinting into unknown as replacement for Hoy

Yorkshire’s double Olympic champion Ed Clancy is relishing the prospect of trying to fill Sir Chris Hoy’s sizeable boots in Glasgow this weekend.

Clancy won his two Olympic titles in the 4,000m team pursuit but, at the opening World Cup meet of the winter, he will try his hand at the team sprint.

The 27-year-old Barnsley-born racer will fill the man-three spot occupied by Hoy in the three-man, three-lap team sprint.

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Hoy, Britain’s most decorated Olympian, combined with Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny to win gold in London.

But Clancy refuses to burden himself with any great expectations.

“We are going into the unknown but what is the worst that could happen?” he said. “I get dropped and ride for three laps on my own, I never do team sprint again and go back to the team pursuit.

“As much as I’d like to stay on there and do a good last lap and open up another doorway, another option for someone to look at in the future, I wasn’t a team sprinter before this little journey, so there’s no worst-case scenarios really.

“It’s going to be quite interesting to see whether I can match those boys for acceleration when they get going.”

Clancy also won omnium bronze in London, the individual multi-discipline medal sealed with an impressive performance in the final event, the one-kilometre time-trial.

His time of one minute 00.981 seconds would have placed him third in the Olympics in Athens, when Hoy won an event that has since been removed from the Games, and would have been fast enough to win the world titles from 2004 to 2008, three of which were claimed by Hoy.

If the team sprint is a success Clancy will look to ride it again at February’s track world championships in Minsk, Belarus, along with the 1km time-trial.

He added: “Plan A is that the team sprint will go well in Glasgow and hopefully I’ll ride the team sprint at the worlds as well as the kilo just as a little sort of side project; a bit of a break from the team pursuit.

“I’ve nothing against it, I love riding team pursuit but sometimes a change is as good as a break, that’s the idea behind it.”

Olympic champions Joanna Rowsell and Steven Burke have withdrawn from the Great Britain team for this weekend’s Glasgow meet, with academy riders Elinor Barker and Joe Kelly taking their places.

Rowsell was recently laid low with a virus and her absence breaks up her world and Olympic-winning combination with Laura Trott and Dani King. The trio had set six successive world records.

Burke’s absence from the men’s team pursuit squad means none of the four-man team which won Olympic gold in London will be riding in Glasgow, with Kelly joining a youthful squad.

British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for these two youngsters to step in and experience the GB competition environment at an elite level.”