Ethan Hayter stays grounded despite high praise from Ed Clancy

When three-time Olympic champion Ed Clancy called Ethan Hayter “the Chosen One” earlier this year, his young team-mate did not exactly return the compliment.

PRAISE: Yorkshire's three-time Olympic champion Ed Clancy called Ethan Hayter, above, “the Chosen One” Picture: John Walton/PA.

“I think I called him a k***,” Hayter told the PA news agency.

Clancy referred to himself as being like Morpheus from The Matrix when making the comparison – a reference lost on the 21-year-old Hayter who thinks he maybe saw the film once, several years ago, but cannot remember.

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Either way, Clancy was clear what he meant. In Hayter’s slight build and huge engine, Clancy – a former team-mate of the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas – sees huge potential.

LEGEND: Yorkshireman Ed Clancy, pictured during day one of the 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships at Velodrom, Berlin in February. Picture: Tim Goode/PA

But the softly-spoken Londoner would rather not make such bold claims for himself.

“It’s a massive compliment, but it doesn’t really change that much, if you know what I mean,” Hayter said. “Everyone’s still trying to be the best they can all the time.

“What is a nice confidence boost is Ed quite often says about everyone that we’re one of the best committed groups he’s worked with, which is almost more rewarding.”

Hayter’s efforts have brought plenty of rewards already. He was a world and European champion on the track at the age of 19, while on the road last year he took stage wins in two prestigious youth races – the Baby Giro and Tour de l’Avenir – as well as fifth overall in Britain’s national road race.

Hayter expected to be in the final stages of preparations for the Olympics now, before the coronavirus pandemic forced the Tokyo Games to be postponed by 12 months.

While disappointed by that news, Hayter accepts there was no alternative and quickly came to terms with the delay.

“I wouldn’t say it was that hard at all for me,” he said. “I’ve only really thought I could go to the Olympics for two years now, so another year is not that much in the grand scheme of things.

“I didn’t really dare to dream for a long time.

“It was only when I was a world champion I thought, ‘OK, I could actually have my name in the hat.”

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