Tokyo Olympics: Team GB hero Ed Clancy retires from cycling after illustrious career

    Team GB hero Ed Clancy retires from cycling after withdrawing from the team pursuit in Tokyo with an aggravated back injury as three-time Olympic champion walks away as event’s most successful rider EVER

    • Ed Clancy rode in Monday’s heats when Team GB finished fourth fastest in Tokyo
    • The result set up a race against Denmark for a place in the team pursuit final
    • However, it has emerged that Clancy has now aggravated a back injury 
    • He has been replaced in the squad by Team GB’s reserve rider Charlie Tanfield
    • The 36-year-old is the most successful team pursuit rider in cycling history 
    • Find out the latest Tokyo Olympic news including schedule, medal table and results right here

    British three-time Olympic champion Ed Clancy has announced his retirement after pulling out of Tuesday’s team pursuit.

    The cycling legend rode in Monday’s qualifying when Team GB finished fourth fastest to set up a race against Denmark for a place in the final.

    However, it has now emerged that Clancy aggravated a back injury and has been replaced by Team GB’s reserve rider Charlie Tanfield, who will make up a quartet with Ethan Hayter, Ethan Vernon and Ollie Wood.

    Ed Clancy’s illustrious Olympic career has ended after aggravating a back injury in Tokyo

    Clancy, 36, is the most successful team pursuit rider in history, having won gold at every Olympics since Beijing 2008. He also claimed a bronze in the omnium at London 2012 and has six World Championship titles.

    He prolonged his career once the Tokyo Games were postponed last year in a bid to win a record fourth successive gold.

    However, Clancy’s Olympic career is now over and while he intends to ride in cycling’s new Champions League in November and December – which includes two events in London – he will then stop.

    ‘I’m absolutely gutted that my Olympic career has ended this way, but it would be unfair of me to try to carry on now I have aggravated my back injury,’ said Clancy, who is a Sportsmail columnist at Tokyo 2020.

    ‘Ultimately, I want the rest of the lads to build on the hard work we have done over the past year and a half and give them the best possible chance of making it on to the podium. I will be supporting them all the way.

    ‘I’ve spent just over 20 years on the Great Britain cycling team and I see it as my family. I have achieved more during my time than I ever could have dreamed of and it’s something I will remember for the rest of my life.

    The 36-year-old rode in Monday's heats in Tokyo when Team GB finished fourth fastest

    The 36-year-old rode in Monday’s heats in Tokyo when Team GB finished fourth fastest 

    ‘It’s been a pleasure, to the extent that if I could go back in time I would do it all over again. It’s a tough call, because I’m enjoying it more now than I ever have done, but the difficult choice is usually the right one and right now is the time to go.

    ‘I want to thank everyone – family, friends, coaches, trade teams, sponsors, British Cycling and everyone else who has supported me – my career success has been a big team effort.

    ‘In terms of what’s next, I still love riding bikes and I plan on rounding out the season competing in UCI Track Champions League, as well as focusing on building up the Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy.

    ‘I also really enjoy my ambassadorial role with Pro-Noctis so I would like to do more with them, and I definitely would love to stay connected with British Cycling.

    ‘I have plenty of options, but right now I will be putting all my energy in doing what I can to support the Great Britain Cycling Team out here in Tokyo.’

    Three-time gold medallist Clancy is the most successful team pursuit rider in history

    Three-time gold medallist Clancy is the most successful team pursuit rider in history

    Clancy’s last ride in Team GB colours came in Monday’s qualification. The Brits were 2.493sec slower than Denmark, albeit still almost three seconds quicker than the national record they set in the final at Rio 2016.

    ‘This is the end and it’s massively (emotional),’ Clancy added. ‘When I think back to 2005 and my first World Championships, it’s been an amazing journey. 20 years I’ve been with British Cycling and they’ve stuck with me through good times and bad times, I’ve had some life-changing experiences. If I could go back in time, I’d do it all again.

    ‘I’ve made two hard decisions in the last 24 hours. That was one of them, and I think calling it a day and retiring from the Olympics was another. They are two incredibly difficult decisions that I’ve made but it doesn’t mean they are wrong. 

    ‘These are my end credits so thanks to everyone in British Cycling, a special shout-out to Hannah Crowley, the physio who has genuinely extended my career by seven years I think.’ 

    Stephen Park, British Cycling performance director, added: ‘I admire Ed for taking the decision to retire from the sport which he still has a strong passion for.

    Clancy said he has made two of the toughest decisions of his career in the last 24 hours

    Clancy said he has made two of the toughest decisions of his career in the last 24 hours

    ‘I know it was tough for him having to withdraw from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on account of his back issues. But his professionalism and honesty led him to make this decision and he can hold his head high knowing he was part of the quartet who posted the fourth-fastest time in an event we knew would be incredibly competitive.

    ‘Through his domination in the team pursuit and by winning three consecutive Olympic gold medals, Ed has played a big part in driving the event forward, to the extent where we are witnessing the times we saw posted in Berlin and what we saw yesterday in qualifying.

    ‘Away from the bike, Ed embodies the values of our team and has become a trusted mentor to his younger team-mates.

    ‘It’s been a pleasure to support Ed with his fantastic achievements and on behalf of everyone on the Great Britain cycling team. I wish him the very best of luck for the future, and I hope he keeps some involvement with us.’


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