Barnsley’s Ed Clancy is weighing up whether to focus solely on trying to win another Olympic team pursuit gold alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins in Rio.
Wiggins’ return to the track for a final Games next year will make the team pursuit a major focus as Britain bid for a third successive gold in the event. Clancy was part of the pursuit quartet in 2008 and 2012, but doubled up in London where he also won bronze in the omnium. The 29-year-old was world champion in the multi-event discipline in 2010 and must decide over the next few weeks whether to give it another go in Rio.
A change in format last year to favour the points race, Clancy’s weakest event, led him to think he was finished with it, but now he is not so sure.
He said: “My main thing’s team pursuit. But I don’t know how much longer I’ll be doing the track for and maybe this is the last big push. More than anything I want to get up there with Wiggins and the rest and smash another gold medal. That’s the big dream and I don’t want to detract from it with omnium stuff. But if I can do the omnium as well and grab another medal, I’d be up for it.
“If I have a look at the omnium again in the summer and do qualification races and decide I could ride it but realistically I’d be lucky to get fourth or fifth place, I’m not going to waste my time with it.”
It will be Jon Dibben rather than Clancy who rides the omnium at the 2015 Track World Championships in Paris, which began on Wednesday.
Team pursuit qualification is on the first day and Clancy and his team-mates will be looking to bury the memory of last year, when they trailed home an embarrassing eighth in Colombia.
He said: “We never, ever want to go through that again. It was a horrible experience. I’m still to some degree baffled by how we got it so wrong.
“I can’t promise we’re going to go there and beat the Aussies, they’re still the favourites, but next year (at the world championships) in London it will become more important and the really big one is the Olympics.”
Clancy is already thinking beyond Rio and experiences like the one in Colombia have made up his mind to commit to the road for at least the following two years, and possibly a full Olympic cycle.
He said: “I think it’s taken me this long to realise that when you get to this point in the Olympic cycle, whether we go on to do good things in the worlds or not, it’s exciting now. It feels like we’re trying, and that’s what I like.
“I don’t like going to the worlds and it just be we’re an Olympic cycle team and we’re here to show our face. That’s why we get battered.
“That’s how it is, it’s a business that’s funded on one event every four years. But as a cyclist it’s quite demoralising to go through those first two years when you want to push on and keep breaking world records.”