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Ed Clancy's Days of Doom

Team GB pursuit team is famously secretive about their training. GB are the reigning Olympic champions, Ed Clancy explains the "days of doom" training camp that led to the 2012 gold medal.

Ed and Team GB Pursuit Team

The two week training camps Ed Clancy calls "days of doom", feature a full on high intensity riding day in day out. In the morning its all about endurance work, the riders are pacing behind a bike or each other riding between 52 and 58 kilometres per hour for 20 minutes or so at a time, lap after lap, round and round the velodrome.
Each afternoon is about speed. The training plan consists of a series of "flying" five-kilometre runs starting from race speed, "like riding a team pursuit uphill but fast", Ed puts it. "The aim is to ride for longer than in a four-minute pursuit race, with the legs churning a larger gear than usual, to build the strength necessary for riding at approaching 70kph in formation, when adapting to the minutest variation in pace makes huge demands on the leg muscles."
Then the squad moves onto doing brutal five-minute efforts with four of the riders riding in team pursuit formation, the two others hanging off the back.

  • 6.30am Breakfast
    Typically porridge, scrambled eggs, cereal, coffee
  • 7.45am On track
    Endurance interval training behind motorbike: warm up, then blocks of 20 minutes with five minutes rest in between
  • 9.45am Off track
  • 10am Rest
    Includes a massage, flexibility and injury troubleshooting with physiotherapist, a once-over from the team doctor, media work, play Xbox in team room
  • 12noon Lunch
    Typically rice and quinoa salad with chicken, ham, sweetcorn, emphasis on healthy, high-energy food. Snacks during the day include home made rice cakes, energy bars, gels and broccoli juice
  • 2pm On track
    Warm up then rolling 5,000m efforts in team pursuit formation
  • 5pm Off track
  • 5.30-6pm Stretching
    Often using a roller to work on the quadriceps muscles and flexibility under physio supervision, to help ensure the exercises are done perfectly, and to iron out any issues
  • 7pm Return to hotel
    Dinner is chicken, pasta, sweet potato mash, risotto, couscous
  • 9pm Bed

Team GB will ride in the Olympic team pursuit qualifying race on Thursday 11th August at 9pm (UK time). Team pursuit first round and finals will take place on Friday 12th August from 8pm.

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