Cycling: Clancy's on his guard

Cycling: Clancy's on his guard
(From left) Neil Van der Ploeg from the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team, Roman Van Uden from the Node 4-Giordana Racing team, Simon Clarke from the Orica GreenEDGE team, Ed Clancy from the Rapha Condor JLT team, and Phuchong Saiudomsin from the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team.

SINGAPORE - He will be back for the second time for the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional Criterium, and will be one of the favourites to win the race.

But Ed Clancy, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, is playing down the favourites' tag.

In a conference call on Tuesday, the 29-year-old Briton said: "I'm quite a big name out there because of the stuff I've done on the track, but I'm not famous as a road rider.

"I'm only looking forward to performing well.

"If I so happen to get another podium or a win, then that's great news. If things don't work out, then that's road racing, you know."

Clancy is touted as a favourite after he finished second in last year's OCBC pro criterium.

He was pipped to the line by Simon Clarke from Australian cycling team Orica-GreenEDGE, but the defending champion will not be back this year.

Clancy was part of the British men's team pursuit outfit that won gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and defended the title on home soil four years later in London.

He is coming off of the Track Cycling World Championships in Colombia, which ended two weeks ago.

The British team finished a lowly eighth out of 13 outfits - one of the worst results for the nation in the event in nearly 15 years.

The 2014 OCBC Cycle event will be held at the F1 Pit Building from March 28 to 30, with the pro criterium going off next Friday night.

Clancy sees the race in Singapore as a chance to bounce back.

He said: "It would be great to get a result in Singapore to boost my morale.

"It has been a disappointing world championships, and I could do with some good feelings from a good race out there."

Clancy does not like heat or humidity, but says it will not be a problem here.

"I personally don't deal with the heat that well. I noticed last year, once the sun goes down, it's still hot, but it cools down considerably.

"As long as you hydrate well and you hydrate before the race, it's still a relatively short road race," he said.

Absent

With Clarke absent, Australia's Orica-GreenEDGE - the two-time defending champions of the team event - will only be represented by Lithuanian Aidis Kruopis next week.

Clancy will have three teammates with him, which will be an advantage.

"The more riders you've got on the team, the better chance you've got," he said.

"But he's (Kruopis) just won the sprints series in the Tour de Langkawi, so I wouldn't bet against him.

"He'll be a force to be reckoned with despite the lack of teammates."

Kruopis, 27, was the top rider in the sprints classification of this year's Le Tour de Langkawi, winning the coveted blue jersey.

Besides Clancy and Kruopis, New Zealand's Aaron Gate should also be a contender.

He will be part of the New Zealand national cycling team doing battle here.

The 23-year-old was part of the Kiwi team that won bronze in the pursuit event at the 2012 Olympics.

Even with some tough competition, Clancy wants to enjoy the race in Singapore.

"I enjoyed the little training rides we did beforehand down the coast, just exploring the country, almost as much as I enjoyed the race.

"More than anything, I'm just looking forward to seeing the sights again," he said.


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