OLYMPIC gold medallist Ed Clancy OBE is set to thrill the crowds at the Yorkshire Housing Skipton Cycle Races next Wednesday.

He will join a field of top cyclists for the exciting HSBC UK National Circuit Series race, which will be televised.

Spectating is free for the event, organised by Craven District Council, which will see the cyclists speeding round a short town centre loop dozens of times before sprinting for the finish.

Clancy, who rides for JLT Condor, said: “I’ve been a track rider for most of my career and these town centre races are very much up my street – short, punchy, road races. I’ve never ridden Skipton before but it should be a good course, nice and flat and fast.

“Town centre races are run on a short circuit so you can watch the whole race unfold every few minutes as the riders are going to be back again. It’s a great atmosphere.”

Clancy is the reigning Olympic and European champion in the team pursuit, is a four-time world champion and also won a bronze medal in the omnium at the London 2012 Olympics.

He’s set to ride in Skipton alongside team-mates including Ian Bibby and Graham Briggs, both former National Circuit Champions.

“We work as a team but we’ll win as an individual,” he explained. “The idea is to get any one of your riders to win the race. We’ll try and use each of our strengths.

“You’ve got to be fit, you’ve got to be fast, there’s going to be 40, 50, 60 riders all fighting to be in the first five, so you’ve got to have good bike handling skills and good bunch riding skills to fight for position at the front.”

Ed is focusing on road racing for the next year or so before turning back to the track, and admits he loves the team pursuit best.

“There’s nothing quite like the team pursuit when you’re there with three of your best mates, there’s such a big technical and tactical aspect to it, you’ve got to have a real feel for pace and judgement, and you’re in a big packed velodrome and it comes down to those few minutes.

“It’s quite exciting – when you get it right. I’d be lying if I said I don’t get nervous even now, but you just embrace it and realise that you’re nervous for a reason and whatever the result, you’ve tried your best.

“I want to spend another year on the road and then from August 2018 all my focus will be on Tokyo – one final Olympics.”

The 2015 Skipton winner Scott Thwaites, a former Ermysted’s student, learned this week that he has been chosen to ride in the Tour de France for the first time for Team Dimension Data alongside former World Road Race Champion Mark Cavendish.

Yorkshire Housing Skipton Cycle Races take place on Wednesday in Skipton Town Centre, following a 1km circuit. under-12 fun races run from 6pm to 6.30pm, followed by youth races from 6.45pm to 7.30pm, and the HSBC National Circuit Series elite men’s race from 8pm to 9pm.

The races are supported by Skipton Business Improvement District, organised by Craven District Council, and sponsored by Yorkshire Housing, Midgley Motor Cars, Howdens Joinery, Skipton Market and Visit Skipton