Olympics cycling: Ed Clancy in contention for omnium victory

Ed Clancy

Ed Clancy's attempt to win the inaugural Olympic men's omnium title is on track at the halfway stage of the multi-discipline event.

The British rider is in fourth place after three of the six events, seven points behind French rider Bryan Coquard.

Clancy opened with a victory in the "flying lap", then came 11th in the points race.

The 27-year-old was fifth in the elimination event.

Earlier in Saturday's evening session, team-mate Jason Kenny continued his smooth progress towards the medal rounds of the men's sprint.

Kenny, who broke the world record for the "flying" 200m in the morning qualifying round, received a bye in the first round of the competition.

That put him straight into the last 12 of the event, where he met South African Bernard Esterhuizen. The South African teenager is a promising talent but had little hope against Kenny.

The 24-year-old Brit, the 2011 world champion and Beijing silver medallist in this discipline - behind team-mate Sir Chris Hoy - powered past Esterhuizen on the back straight of the third and final lap, and was able to coast over the line.

The two-time Olympic team sprint gold medallist now advances to Sunday's quarter-finals and a heat against Malaysia's Azizulhasni Awang.

The three other quarter-finals are Gregory Bauge versus Robert Forstemann, Shane Perkins against Jimmy Watkins, and Njisane Nicholas Phillip and Denis Dmitriev.

France's Bauge, a seven-time world champion, looks like providing the biggest threat to Kenny, although he faces a tough opponent in Germany's Forstemann.

Australia's Perkins is another dangerous rider and Dmitriev of Russian has also looked in good form. The medal races are on Monday.

But, before that, Team GB will hope to have added their fifth medal of what has already been a spectacular track cycling programme. The hosts have won four of the five golds contested so far, and Clancy is in with a great chance of making that five from six on Sunday.

The omnium, track cycling's answer to athletics' decathlon, is the ultimate test of a rider's versatility.

The 27-year-old Yorkshireman is by far the best rider in the 18-man field over short-to-medium distances, particularly against the clock.

He won the "flying lap" event comfortably, and will be confident of doing the same in the 4,000m individual pursuit and the 1km time trial. Sunday's other event is a straightforward 15km race, known as the scratch race.

So with his two weakest events - the gruelling and highly tactical points and elimination races - out of the way, the 2010 omnium world champion can realistically dream of a third Olympic medal to add to his two team pursuit golds.

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