Clancy and company poised to chase down Olympic gold rivals

Great Britain's pursuit team of, from left, Geraint Thomas, Andy Tennant, Peter Kennaugh and Ed Clancy, train in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, April 3, 2012 ahead of the Track Cycling World Championships. The championships begin April 4. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Great Britain's pursuit team of, from left, Geraint Thomas, Andy Tennant, Peter Kennaugh and Ed Clancy, train in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, April 3, 2012 ahead of the Track Cycling World Championships. The championships begin April 4. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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Ed Clancy believes Great Britain are playing catch-up in their team pursuit battle royale with Australia – but that the current squad is superior to the one which claimed gold in Beijing.

Britain were second to Australia at the Olympic test event, February’s Track World Cup, and Clancy knows his squad have ground to make up in the four-man, four-kilometre event.

“We made a couple of schoolboy errors in that team pursuit final, in terms of length of turn and doing the basics, which cost us a little bit of time,” said Barnsley’s Clancy.

“I still think the Aussies would’ve beaten us by a few 10ths (of a second), but you could quite clearly see we came off it quite badly in the last few laps through stupid errors. I think we’ve got to acknowledge the fact these Aussie kids are not getting any slower.

“We do appreciate we’ve got a fight on our hands this time. It’s going to come down to a few tenths (of a second) either way, I think.”

Clancy is one of six riders in Melbourne for this week’s Track Cycling World Championships – along with fellow Olympic champion Geraint Thomas, plus Steven Burke, Pete Kennaugh and Andy Tennant.

Rotherham road specialist Ben Swift is also in the squad as he continues his bid to make London 2012 on the track.

Clancy – who will also contest the omnium – considers this team pursuit squad to be more accomplished than the one which won gold in Beijing.

Clancy, Thomas, Paul Manning and Bradley Wiggins clocked three minutes 53.314 seconds to triumph in China.

“In terms of what we’re doing and the times we’re posting, we’re going better now,” said Clancy, ahead of today’s team pursuit qualifiers.

“We’re in a good place. Have we got a better team now than we had in Beijing? I think we have. Geraint and I are the same two. Bradley was very, very good, but if you look at how he was during the Olympics, he had a bad couple of days. He was ill. He wasn’t himself.

“We haven’t got that core four; we’ve got six riders who are pretty similar,” added Clancy.