YORKSHIRE cycling star Ed Clancy and his team visited a cycling shop in York today ahead of the Tour de Yorkshire.
The eight riders of team JLT Condor spent the afternoon in Cycle Heaven on Bishopthorpe Road, where they were available to chat with customers, sign autographs and enjoyed some relaxing time after a morning ride.
Olympic Gold medallist and five-times world champion Mr Clancy, who was born in Barnsley and lives in Holmfirth, said: “I am a track rider, so this is not what I usually specialise in. It’s going to be a tough race but I am keen to have a go.
“It’s very very rare to have the opportunity to do a big race in front of a home crowd, when they can be held all over the world from Manchester to Paris and Rio. On the road like this, you can see and hear people and so it’s a bit more personal and home and college friends will hopefully come and see it.
“For me this is more an endurance camp for my track training because Rio is just a year away and will come round quickly.”
Joe Krasinskr and his 12-year-old son Max, keen cyclists and both in their riding gear, made the trip from Leeds to meet the team.
“It’s very inspiring for us and it’s fantastic we have a chance to meet them," said Joe. "These kind of events make people get on their bikes and want to ride more, which is great.”
Piers Maffett, the co-director of Cycle Heaven, said: “It’s a really exciting weekend and to have these guys come here first is a brilliant way to start it.
“This year the race in York is going to be competitive whereas last year it was not the real start and the cyclists were just booting it. But this year they will be flying by and for anyone who hasn't seen professional cycling, they will be surprised at how fast they will be going.”