Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) will race on the track in the opening round of the Revolution Series in Derby from August 14-16 as part of his bid to qualify to participate in the Omnium at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Cavendish will line up in the Omnium and the Madison in the UCI class 1 event next weekend with the aim of picking up the points necessary to be eligible to participate in Track World Cup events during the winter.
Two years ago, Cavendish made a similar bid to secure the points needed to participate in the Track World Cup when he rode in the International Belgian Open in Ghent, though the plan was ultimately opposed by his team manager, Patrick Lefevere.
Last winter, however, Cavendish participated in the Ghent Six and Zurich Six in the company of Iljo Keisse, winning the Swiss event. Cavendish has yet to sign a contract for the 2016 season, though he is expected to remain with Etixx-QuickStep.
“I’ve always maintained that my focus is my performances on the road as a professional rider for Etixx-Quick Step. However if there was any chance, however small, that I could be in a position to go for an Olympic medal in Rio then I have to keep all of my options open,” Cavendish said.
“No definitive decisions have been made yet. So I will try to do this through picking up qualification points in the Omnium fitted around my road racing schedule.”
Cavendish participated in the Madison at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but was the only British track rider to return from China without a medal. He last represented Great Britain on the track at the 2009 World Championships in Poland.
Last week, Great Britain technical director Shane Sutton told Cyclingnews that Cavendish would have his work cut out to displace Ed Clancy as the British representative in the Omnium in Rio next year. “I’ve got to be totally honest. It’s not going to be easy for him,” Sutton said, though he added: “If anyone could do it, it’s Cav.”
Riders need 90 UCI track points before September 15 in order to qualify to participate in Track World Cup events over the winter, which in turn offer qualification possibilities for the World Championships in Olympic Games in 2016.
“We have two purposes for the event. One is of course collecting UCI points which will let our riders qualify for the World Championship in London next year, but the other is to establish a pecking order within Team GB – we’re looking to determine who is our number one rider, who is our number two rider for each event,” said British Cycling endurance coach Heiko Salzwedel. “The dates for the event are no coincidence, this is a chance to try out our preparations for the Games next year – it’s a trial run.”