Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins enjoyed a successful return to the Madison event on the track on Sunday, riding together in the event for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games. The British pair, who are former World Champions, beat Belgium’s Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw by an 11-point margin at the Revolution meet on the new track in Derby, in central England.
"The last time we rode together he had just won four stages in his first Tour and I hadn't even got over a railway bridge in a race, and look at what's happened in between," Wiggins said, according to the Telegraph. "I'd love to see Cav in Rio. We'd love to see him doing the team pursuit. But his thing is the Tour - that's his bread and butter."
Crucially for both Cavendish and Wiggins as they look to the Rio Olympics, the event offered up UCI ranking points. Wiggins also earned points earlier in the weekend as Great Britain stormed to victory in the team pursuit. However, after a successful return to track racing, Wiggins didn’t know if they’d be able to partner with Cavendish again in the future.
"We've qualified now and got some points, I don't know whether that's enough to ride the Madison [at the Worlds]," Wiggins told the BBC. "I'm not too sure. I'm retired now anyway, I've got plenty of freedom but 'Cav' he's got a hectic schedule."
Cavendish also completed the Omnium event on Sunday, finishing second overall behind Olympic bronze medallist Ed Clancy. Cavendish ended the six-discipline event with 210 points compared to the 228 points scored by Clancy. The two went toe to toe in the final discipline, the points race, and while Cavendish was able to close the overall points gap, Clancy kept him close enough to ensure the overall win.
Given that it has been well over a decade since the Manxman has ridden an omnium, he was understandably pleased with the result. Cavendish has desires on riding the Omnium on the track at the Rio Olympics and riding the Revolution event in Derby keeps that door open.
"I'm very happy, very encouraged. Finishing second behind an Olympic bronze medallist was a good achievement. But I've just done this to give me a chance of riding in the World Cup this winter. This was just to keep my options open," said Cavendish. "It would be nice to have an Olympic medal as a British athlete [though]. Just to stop you all banging on about it to be fair."
Places on the track team will be hard to come by with nations only allowed to enter one team per discipline. If Cavendish wants a spot in the omnium, it is Clancy that he’ll have to fight with. Clancy has been part of the team pursuit outfit that has won gold at the last two Olympic Games, he also took bronze in the first ever Olympic Omnium.
"The preferred option is Ed Clancy as he is also the strongest guy in the team pursuit," GB endurance coach Salzwedel told the Telegraph. The German said that making the team wasn’t impossible though. "He needs to move to Manchester, he needs to train with the squad, but he could do it if he wanted. He has told me he will do whatever it takes. He is 100 per cent committed. He is getting stronger and faster."