Ed Clancy might be the king of the boards, but even Yorkshire’s multi-garlanded cyclist admits Sunday’s Tour de Yorkshire stage into Leeds has struck the fear of God into him.
The 30-year-old multiple Olympic and world track champion will be part of the British JLT Condor team contesting the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire which begins in Bridlington today.
Never as comfortable on the roads as he is on the track, the Huddersfield man knows he could be in for a huge challenge merely completing what at 167km is a short but punchy run from Wakefield to Roundhay Park on Sunday.
“I’m already worried about stage three, it’s going to be a monumental carve up,” said Clancy of a stage that is a constant rollercoaster ride.
“For the guys like me that stage is going to be savage on the climbs. It will be a pretty big achievement to get through it.”
And 10 months after watching the Tour de France fly past his doorstep, Clancy is relishing the prospect of riding on the roads near his base at Holme Moss.
“Stage three is going to be horrible but at least it goes near my house,” he laughed.
“It’s very rare to compete on the roads you know so well.
“Last year the Tour came right past my house on the bottom of Holme Moss. It was a buzz to watch the best in the world in action.
“It’s going to be quite weird now racing just 100 metres from my home.”
With plenty of honours adorning his mantlepiece, Clancy is not expecting to add to them this weekend, though he believes a team containing fellow Yorkshiremen Graham Briggs, Tom Moses and Harry Tanfield can spring a surprise.
“It’ll be a funny race with all the world pro teams mixed in with best of British. But the UK cycling scene is really strong at the minute,” he said of a field that includes the Leeds’ duo of Josh Edmondson (riding for Great Britain) and Liam Holohan (Madison Genesis).
“If they can get in a break on the first couple of days then they might have a say in the outcome at least, but that third day is going to be brutal.
“I’m just hoping the fans who come out will be happy to see me in action.”
Those fans will also get to witness two of the biggest names in road racing; Sir Bradley Wiggins riding for his new outfit Team Wiggins, and Marcel Kittel, the German sprint ace with Giant-Alpecin who won last year’s first stage of the Tour de France into Harrogate.
Stage one is today from Bridlington to Scarborough.