Olympic team pursuit champion Ed Clancy won the men’s omnium at the world track cycling championships on Sunday and said he would consider giving up his place in Britain’s pursuit team for the London Games if it meant he could chase another omnium gold on home soil.
Australian Leigh Howard, the defending champion, finished second to take the silver while American Taylor Phinney won the bronze to claim his second medal after his triumph in the pursuit.
Clancy’s gold was Great Britain’s third of the championships after Sir Chris Hoy’s keirin victory and Victoria Pendleton’s sprint gold and meant they finished second in the table behind a rampant Australia.
The omnium will make its Olympic debut at the London Games in 2012 where both sexes will race the same five events: sprint, team sprint, keirin, team pursuit and omnium.
And that pushed British team bosses to nominate Clancy, known for his strengths as an endurance and pursuit rider, into this year’s race.
The red-haired Englishman, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2009 New Year’s honors list, is uncertain to compete in the event in London, where Britain could hope to bring in either Mark Cavendish or Chris Newton.
However, he said he would consider giving up that coveted spot if it means he can pursue personal glory in the omnium.
“After today you’ve got to think about it,” he said. “It’s probably going to clash with the team pursuit, so I’m going to have to weigh it up. I would’ve thought I’d stick to team pursuiting. Having said that, it’s my first individual medal of any color and one I didn’t think I’d get.”
After Britain was stunned by Australia’s superb gold-medal ride in the team pursuit, which the Aussies won by just 0.152 second, Clancy said he simply had no energy left.
“It felt like I had a hangover the day after the team pursuit and that wasn’t just because I raided the bar,” he said. “You just feel down when you lose by such a small margin.”
At the London Games a sixth event yet to be decided will be raced in the omnium.
Clancy finished first in the 200-meter flying start, 13th in the scratch, fourth in the pursuit and moved to the top of the provisional standings with his fifth-place finish in the points race.
His victory in the finale, the 1km time trial, reinforced his lead and handed him the gold ahead of defending champion Howard, who finished with eight points more than the Briton.