WE thought we were lucky to have one Olympic champion living in our town, but it turns out St Helens actually struck gold twice in Beijing.

The Star saluted the achievements of Ed Clancy last week for clinching gold with Team GB’s 4,000m pursuit quartet.

Now it has emerged that Welshman Geraint Thomas, who rode alongside Ed in the magnificent quartet that also shattered their own world record, also has a home in Newton-le-Willows.

The two star cyclists are best friends and live streets away from each other. In the past fortnight both have been busy soaking up their acclaim after returning to the UK and this week they met up with the St Helens Star to describe their experiences.

Ed, who often trains on the roads of the town, said: “I have been recognised by a couple of people.

“Everyone is keen to have a look at the medal, but we haven’t been used to this level of media interest before.”

Ed said:“Since we have both been back in England, everything’s been going a bit crazy and our phones have never stopped ringing. I even got a free MOT at the local garage.”

Ed and Geraint, from Wales, relocated to Newton because of it closeness to the Manchester Velodrome centres and the airports.

Geraint, aged 22, said: “I went back to Cardiff for a week and it was manic. So many people turned out to see us. It was surreal. Plus there were a few people buying me drinks.”

Their gold medals are the culmination of three years hard work.

Ed, aged 23, explained: “We have been working specifically on the Games for the best part of three-years.

“As you get closer, your training becomes more track related.

“That’s been the ultimate goal of winning the team pursuit. For 11 months out of the year, this takes over your life. We are out on the bike by 8.30am, we are eating right and not drinking.”

They added: “The final phase of training started in about November. And on the road we will be doing at least 500 miles per week. It’s more of a lifestyle than any other job. But on the day of the race we were really confident. We knew we were be