FOUR years ago an unassuming young cyclist powered to Olympic gold in Beijing. And his neighbours in Newton-le-Willows will be hoping for a repeat performance of the celebrations that followed when Ed Clancy fires up his Olympic challenge this week at the velodrome.

And there’s every chance it could be a double medal haul this time for the cyclist, who has been selected to ride both the team pursuit and the omnium events.

Speaking on his website, Ed, 27, said: “It seemed like yesterday we were preparing for the Olympic test event in February. We finished in second place behind the Australians in the team pursuit. But we made up for it in Melbourne just a few weeks later in March at the world championships.” Not only did Ed and his pursuit teammates gain revenge over the Aussies, they smashed the world record too.

He continued: “When the final confirmation for the Olympic selection was announced, as I had hoped, I’ve been selected for the team pursuit and the omnium. To be honest, it’s not something I’d given much thought to. I think I had been so focused on training hard for the Olympics that I forgot I had to get selected in the first place!

“Obviously I’m very proud to represent Team GB and can’t wait to give my best in front of a home crowd.” The team pursuit qualifications will be held on Thursday, August 2 from 4:50pm-5:40pm with the final on Friday, August 3 from 5:55pm-6:25pm.

The omnium is held over two days on Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5.