Mark Cavendish has reportedly been selected for August’s Olympic Games in Rio, but it seems there will be no seat on the plane to Brazil for the country’s second highest ranked female road cyclist Dani King, who won gold on the track in London four years ago.
According to Mail Online, Cavendish has been given the green light to ride the Omnium in what will be his third Olympic Games as he seeks the gold medal that eluded him in the Madison at Beijing and road race in London.
But the website reports that a number of riders left out of the squad that is set to be announced by British Cycling on Friday – including Tour de France stage winner, Steve Cummings – are not happy about their omission from the squad, with some considering appealing against the selectors’ decision.
Under Olympic qualification rules for the women’s road race, where world champion Lizzie Armitstead, silver medallist in London, is one of the country’s gold medal hopes, Team GB will have three riders, compared to five in 2012.
The riders who will support Armitstead are said to be her Boels-Dolmans team mate Nikki Harris, and Emma Pooley, former world time trial champion and winner of a silver medal in the same discipline in Beijing, who retired from the sport two years ago but has made herself available for selection.
King, a member of the team pursuit trio who won gold for Team GB in London, has focused on the road since recovering from a career-threatening injury sustained on a training ride in November 2014, is said to be “heartbroken” by the decision.
She told Telegraph.co.uk: “I want to be very clear, this is not about Emma. I harbour no ill feeling towards her. She is an incredible athlete and a lovely person. And she was very open about coming back late in the cycle and leaving it up to the selectors to decide.
“But how can they select someone who has only ridden a couple of races? The sport has moved on so much in the last couple of years.”
Outlining the performances that she believes gave her a very strong case to be included in the squad – including nine top-10 placings this season, and 11th overall at both the Tour of California and last week's Women’s Tour, won by Armitstead – she added: “In terms of results, I should have been selected, it’s as simple as that. I should be second on the list behind Lizzie.”
With just five riders eligible to be named in the men’s track endurance squad, meanwhile, the inclusion of Cavendish means no place for Andy Tennant, who missed team pursuit gold in London since he did not ride in any of the rounds, or points race world champion, Jon Dibben.
Both helped Great Britain win team pursuit silver at the world championships in London earlier this year, where Cavendish won the Madison with Sir Bradley Wiggins but finished sixth in the Omnium.
Tennant and Dibben are also stronger riders in the team pursuit, meaning that should illness or injury befall any of the quartet who seem set to ride – Wiggins, Owain Doull, Ed Clancy and Stephen Burke – that Team GB could jeopardise a realistic gold medal chance.
Mail Online says that the line-up for the men’s road race, on a course that favours climbers, will feature Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Adam Yates – while the latter’s twin brother, Simon, who returns to racing in July after a four-month doping ban, is out.
The website also says that controversy surrounds the men’s team sprint line-up on the track, where Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes – both gold medallists in London – will be joined by Callum Skinner, with “huge surprise” at 20-year-old Ryan Owens being named reserve rather than the much more experienced Matt Crampton.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.