Stephen Clancy is an Irish professional racing cyclist, who currently rides for UCI ProTeam Team Novo Nordisk. Hailing from Limerick, he has alot of local knowledge of these boreen roads and has agreed to come on board this year as an event ambassador. We caught up with Stephen to ask him a few question and for advice on the fondo:
Q1. Who is Stephen Clancy?
I’m a professional cyclist living with Type 1 Diabetes racing with Team Novo Nordisk.
Q2. Where/when did your cycling career start?
I bought my first road bike when I was 15 years old and started doing local time trials and eventually road races in Limerick.
Q3. How has diabetes affected your cycling?
At first I was told it was career ending, but the reality is that once the condition is controlled, it actually fast tracked my path to the Pro ranks with an all-diabetes team.
Q4. Who are your cycling hero’s past and present?
At first, Fabian Cancellara was my big hero. Now, Sam Bennett is the rider I admire the most.
Q5. What has been your career highlight to date?
I’m not one with many wins on my palmares. I have my name on the trophy of the Charleville 2 Day. I got 4th on a stage of Tour of China also.
Q6. What has attracted you to become an Event Ambassador for GRGF?
I grew up riding and racing in the area with Simon (one of the event organisers) and have always been a fan of getting off the beaten track so this is right up my alley.
Q7. As a Limerick native, what do you think of the route?
Ireland has so many hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The route that GRGF has put together combines year’s worth of experience to create an amazing route to enjoy in a single day, that would otherwise take you a lifetime to explore.
Q8. How does the Irish Boreen compare to that of the Red Gravel roads of Girona and Cataluna area?
There’s quite a big difference alright. In Cataluna it’s usually quite dry and dusty but can be rocky at times. But the wet and mossy/grassy Irish Boreen is a challenge in its own way.
Q9. Would you ride a gravel bike (for a soft easy ride) or a road bike (for your full classics feel) for this event?
I’m used to riding my gravel bike in Spain which I love. But I think for the day that’s in it, I’d ride a road bike to remind me of the good old days!
Q10. What are your 5 best tips for participating in an event like this?
- Dress appropriately (we all know Irish weather) and bring spare parts and tools (and know how to use them!)
- Eat and Drink well right from the beginning before its too late. Bring a special treat for the final hour.
- Find someone to share the ride with. A bit of company can go a long way.
- Train yourself so that you’re confident of the distance, but also work on your technical skills by riding similar segments in advance. It’s also a good time to check that your equipment is up to the task at hand and fine tune your setup.
- Enjoy the experience and smile! Time flies when you’re having fun.