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Doull and Clancy reflect on Rio - and say they'd welcome Sutton return

Olympic gold medallists will ride in Revolution Series in Manchester next month

Olympic gold medallists Ed Clancy and Owain Doull have been reflecting on Team GB's success at Rio and say they would welcome the return of Shane Sutton to British Cycling.

The Australian resigned from his position as technical director of the Great Britain Cycling Team in April following allegations of bullying and discrimination.

He testified last month before an independent panel set up by UK Sport to investigate the claims, and has said he believes his name will be cleared.

> Shane Sutton appears before British Cycling review panel

Sutton moved into the position after Sir Dave Brailsford stepped down as performance director in early 2014.

While a number of riders within the British Cycling system have criticised his methods, notably Jess Varnish and the para-cyclist Darren Kenny, others including Sir Bradley Wiggins have defended him.

But Clancy said Sutton deserved a lot of the credit for the 11 medals won on the track in Rio – six of them gold – that continued the unparalleled domination of events at the velodrome from Beijing in 2008 and London 2012, reports City AM.

The Yorkshireman, a member of Team GB’s men’s team pursuit squad who also took bronze in the omnium in London, added: “I wouldn’t be disappointed if he came back.”

Doull, who made his Olympic debut at Rio and recently signed to Team Sky for 2017, said: “I live in Wilmslow in Manchester, not far from where Shane lives so I have bumped into him a couple of times in a coffee shop.

“He put everything in place for these Olympics. He brought in our coach that has made the difference for us. He was the architect of the Games.”

The Welsh rider added that he believed Sutton being cleared “would be good. He is good at what he does and British Cycling owes a lot to him.”

Clancy said that the issues that had overshadowed Team GB’s build-up to Rio meant that there was extra satisfaction to be had in the successes in the velodrome, explaining: “There have been a lot of distracting stories this year.

“It hasn’t been a year without distraction which made it all the better when we pulled off the wins. We stopped all the negativity and had something positive to shout about.”

The pair, in London for the launch of this year’s Revolution Series – both will ride in the opener in Manchester on 17 September, with tickets available here – also spoke of how other countries tried to get an insight into Team GB’s secrets at Rio.

Doull said: “A lot of coaches would walk past our pen knowing that we are the best at what we do.

“And you see them walking past trying to take sly photos of a new bike or the warming-up pants that we have on. But there’s nothing special going on here, it’s just hard work.”

Clancy, referring to some of the comments made in the media by rival riders, said: "You do hear gossip.

> Rivals question Team GB Olympic cycling success

“I think a lot of those comments are said in the heat of the moment and perhaps they regret saying them afterwards.”

For Doull, Team GB’s riders also achieved a psychological edge over their rivals as the six-day track programme got under way.

He said: “I remember the first night when we qualified fastest by quite a margin, the girls broke the world record in their qualifying for team pursuit and the lads won the team sprint.

“And I remember watching the team sprint and looking at all the other nations and their heads just dropped. They just knew at that point it was back on.

“Same as London, same as Beijing. I think people had already given up by that point,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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