• Track powerhouse Ed Clancy was well suited to the short fast prologue. (Con Chronis)Source: Con Chronis
Track Olympian Ed Clancy is the first leader in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour after his prologue time trial win in the Melbourne CBD.
Cycling Central

31 Jan 2018 - 8:23 PM  UPDATED 31 Jan 2018 - 8:56 PM

Clancy (JLT Condor) scorched over the 1.6km course at Melbourne's Southbank in one minute 54.95 seconds.

He beat Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) by .61 of a second to take the race lead while Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport) finished third.

“People know me from the track and I’ve had some great experiences there," Clancy said. "Road racing has always been my second priority but when I saw on Cyclingnews that the race had been shorted to 1.6kms my eyes lit up.

“I’m buzzing, when you’re sat next to guys like this I was trying to play it cool but I was worried. This is by far the biggest thing I’ve ever achieved on the road."

Clancy has been a key member of Great Britain's all-powerful team pursuit squad, winning gold medals in the track event at the past three Olympics. He is also a five-time world track champion.

But his road credentials are much more modest, meaning he had been the 10th rider to start the time trial out of 101.

Clancy sat in the hot seat at the finish podium for an hour as the rest of the field tried in vain to beat his time.

Newly crowned Australian road champion Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott) had been the last rider to start and, like Clancy, he is also a team pursuiter.

Again, Britain won a cycling Ashes battle, with Edmondson finishing fifth fastest.

Clancy admitted to nerves during Edmondson's ride.

"When Edmondson was coming down the last 200m, I know the form he's had," Clancy said.

For all the sporting rivalry between Britain and Australia, the affable Clancy said he took no great pleasure in beating Edmondson.

"The press builds it up a bit, but there's a lot of respect between the Aussies and the Brits, on the bikes, the team pursuit and all that," he said.

Clancy doubts he will keep the lead beyond Thursday's 161.6km first stage from Colac to Warrnambool, but he is going to lap it up.

"Let the good times role," he said.

The time trial was shortened this year by 500m, better suiting Clancy's physical talents, and he focused on winning it.

"I've been absolutely obsessed with this ... I did my research, I love my numbers," he said.

The race heads into the first stage with less than a second separating the top four riders.