British Cycling has confirmed that Mark Cavendish will ride the omnium at the Track Cycling World Championships as he seeks the sole available Olympic spot for that event. He will also ride the Madison in partnership with Sir Bradley Wiggins.
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships will take place at Lee Valley VeloPark from March 2-6 and Cavendish, who has just recently won the Tour of Qatar, will be hoping that he can impress.
While he has described an Olympic medal as being the only thing missing “from what I can physically achieve as a cyclist,” he is up against two-time Olympic team pursuit gold medallist, Ed Clancy, and Jon Dibben for Omnium selection.
The Manxman rode the event in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong last month and while fourth place earned him enough points to qualify for the World Championships, he will doubtless be keen to improve on that.
Cavendish will also join forces with Wiggins for the Madison – nowadays a non-Olympic event. The pair famously raced it together at the Beijing Olympics the same year they won rainbow jerseys in Manchester, but could only finish ninth. This meant that Cavendish was the only Team GB track cyclist to return without a medal from China – a major reason why he is keen to earn selection for Rio.
Shane Sutton, technical director, said the team of 21 riders was the strongest available with Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Jason Kenny and Phil Hindes all returning to the site of their 2012 Olympic successes.
“It’s great to see Ed Clancy and Katie Archibald included on the squad and that’s testament to the hard work of the Performance Support Team who have ably led the rehabilitation of these riders following their respective injuries.
“Winning is always a key objective for any sports team and we’re sticking to our long-term goal which is success at the Olympic Games in Rio so we’ll be making performance decisions based on this strategy.
“That said, there’s been a marked increase in momentum within the squad recently and we’ve been seeing some promising numbers in training, so I’m expecting to see some strong performances across the board and spectators will be guaranteed to see some world-class competition.”