Let’s take a look at the composition of the GB team which won Worlds team pursuit gold at Apeldoorn the other week.
Ed Clancy: check, ‘in with the bricks,’ he’s three times an Olympic team pursuit champion; a multiple Worlds, Commonwealth and national champion and one of the best team pursuiters the world has ever seen.
Kian Emadi: check, moved over from the team sprint squad to the team pursuit squad, we interviewed him back in 2013 when he turned out a sub 59 second kilometre in Aguascalientes.
Charlie Tanfield: check, one of Dan Bigham’s KGF boys who has been going so fast that BC couldn’t ignore him and drafted him onto the squad.
Ethan Hayter: who?
Well, if you’d been paying more attention than us you would know that in 2016 in Belgium he won the tough junior races, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, GP Serge Baguet, De Klijte-Heuvaelland, was in the winning team in junior European team pursuit champs and was British Madison champion with Joe Holt.
Last year Ethan won the u23 Berlin Six Day (I was there but maybe I missed the result due to sleep deprivation ?) with Matt Walls, took a medal in every British track championship he rode – individual pursuit (3rd), team pursuit (2nd), points (2nd), scratch (1st), omnium (2nd) and Madison (1st) and was part of the winning u23 Europeans team pursuit squad.
This season he began training with the senior team in January and was world champion within weeks, at 19 years-of-age.
‘We need to catch up with this young man,’ we thought to ourselves at VeloVeritas:
You were a Herne Hill boy originally with Velo Club Londres?
“Yes, and not so long ago, Herne Hill was my local track, that’s where I started racing, with VCL.”
You won the junior Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in 2016?
“Yes, it was a good start to that year, John Barclay took us over to the race, John has helped so many riders out over the years.
“I won my first three races but then I broke my collarbone in a crash and missed a lot of racing.
“When I got back on the bike we won the Euro u23 team pursuit and I was placed in most stages and second overall in the Trofeo Karlsberg which is an important junior stage race in Germany, part of the UCI Nations Cup.”
You ran amok at the British Track Champs at the start of 2017.
“Yes, I managed to win a medal in every event I rode; we were a little tired coming into the champs right after a training camp and I raced for four days straight at the Nationals – but it was all good experience.”
You rode quite a heavy stage race programme last year, was that a conscious part of a build up for the team pursuit?
“No, just part of the BC Academy road programme; the Tour of Yorkshire, Paris-Arras, the GP Priessnitz, the Tour of Alsace and Tour of Britain.
“I was tired a lot of the time but at the same time getting as much experience on the road as I could.”
When did you join the Worlds team pursuiters to train for Apeldoorn.
“January, someone dropped out ill and I was brought in.
“I can’t remember who it was but the training wasn’t so different for what I had done with the u23 squad; remember that we’d ridden a 3:57 in u23 competition and done a lot of work for the event.”
Ed Clancy is a real stalwart on that squad.
“He was Olympic champion before I’d even thought about cycling, he stays very relaxed no matter what, he doesn’t stress; it’s good to be around him, you need that calm at the highest levels.”
You were new to the squad and so too was Charlie Tanfield, how did he fit in?
“He was actually training with them before me, he wasn’t the smoothest to start with but by race day it had gelled and we were a smooth unit.”
How did you adopt to the mega gears?
“I was on 108” which is lower than the rest of the team, that means I’m pedalling faster than the others but I’m used to junior gears so high cadence isn’t a problem for me and I’ve built strength from my road programmes.”
What about those lovely GB Cervélos?
“They took a while to get used to but they’re much nicer machines than I was used to riding on the Academy.
“On the Academy you don’t get the absolute top line equipment – but that’s fair enough, isn’t it?”
How were the nerves lining up for that team pursuit final in Apeldoorn?
“I think I was more nervous at the start of the u23 road Worlds in Bergen.
“In Apeldoorn we were in a small hotel, a tight team environment which was good – I was nervous but I don’t really get super-nervous before races.”
What’s next on the agenda?
“The Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast where I’ll be riding the individual and team pursuits plus points race and scratch – that’ll be four consecutive days of racing.”
What about the 3:50 ‘barrier’?
“I think it’s very possible; it’s strange for me because each year I’ve ridden the discipline I’ve improved five seconds – and that’s me down to 3:53.
“I think the GB team could have cracked it in Rio during the Olympics given different atmospheric conditions – that and the condition of the track are big factors.”
What about the future?
“I have individual pursuit ambitions, I’ve only ridden a couple but had the national junior record with a 3:14 for a spell.
“I want to speak to management and discuss what I’m going to be doing on the road in 2018, I want to do as much as I can without it affecting my track speed.
“And of course there are the Tokyo Olympics by which time I’ll be 21 years-old and looking to join a World Tour team.”
A young man who knows what he wants to do, we’ll be keeping an eye on his progress, beginning with the Commonwealth Games in just a couple of weeks’ time.