ED CLANCY’S return to the Team GB pursuit squad ended in disappointment on the opening day of the World Track Cycling Championships in Belarus last week.

Britain’s men, who have triumphed gloriously at the last two Olympics in the 4km or 16-lap race, had to settle for a silver medal behind their arch rivals Australia.

Clancy, whose family live in Tetbury, had tried to break into the Team Sprint side in the absence of Sir Chris Hoy, but returned to the pursuit group ahead of the championships in Minsk.

Clancy partnered Steven Burke, another member of the London 2012-winning pursuit team, and was joined by Andy Tennant and 20-year-old Sam Harrison.

But the British quartet finished more than four seconds behind Australia, who took gold in 3min 56.751sec.

Australia are also rebuilding for Rio, arriving without Jack Bobridge or Rohan Dennis – both key members of the squad that took silver at the Olympics.

Clancy told BBC Sport: “Of course it is disappointing, but this is the first stage in an Olympic cycle.

“It is part of a long process with new faces in the team and we are in a better position than we were at the start of the last Olympic cycle in 2009.”

Britain still topped the table in Minsk with a total of nine medals from 19 events including five golds. Four medals, two of them gold, came for new sprint star Becky James.