Mark Cavendish has admitted that he has no control on being selected for the Great Britain team for the track at the Rio Olympics, saying he is focused on his road racing season with Dimension Data and awaiting possible selection in June.
Cavendish took confidence from finishing sixth in the Omnium and winning the world title in the Madison with Bradley Wiggins at the world track championships in late February after just eight weeks of track training. He is confident he can take on the track specialists thanks to the form he can find while racing on the road and so target an Olympic medal – one of the few things missing from his palmares, in August.
Despite facing stiff competition for the Omnium spot and role of fifth man in the team pursuit squad from Ed Clancy and John Dibben, Great Britain technical director Shane Sutton has indicated that Cavendish has done enough to secure selection and his name is likely to be put forward to the British Olympic Committee.
Cavendish has been guarded about his chances of being selected for the track and has refused to confirm if a meeting took place with Sutton and other coaches in Italy in recent weeks. Sutton angered the Dimension Data team by suggested that Cavendish may need to quit the Tour de France before the final stage to Paris to prepare for the track. However it seems both sides are keen to find a solution that can ensure Cavendish competes the track in Rio in August.
After finishing 30th in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, Cavendish attended an important event with team sponsor Deloitte in Paris and then travelled to Italy for the Milan Design week, where he spoke to Gazzetta dello Sport about selection for Rio and his love for Italian design.
“There’s nothing I can do to get ready at the moment. The selection will be made in June,” Cavendish said when asked if he had begun training for the track.
“I don’t know if I’ll go and there aren’t any events I can use as preparation, so there’s nothing new. I’m working for my season on the road and we’ll see what happens. Because it's nothing I can control, I’m not thinking about it at the moment.”
Cavendish's next race is expected to be the UCI 2.1 Tour of Croatia race (April 19-24).
The Manxman often spends time training in the Tuscan town of Quarrata – which is famous for producing furniture, and revealed he has learnt to appreciate the importance of design in Italian life.
“There are some aspect of life that Italians do better than anyone else in the world, things like furniture, cars, clothes and food,” Cavendish told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The Milan Design Week is the mecca for all of that and companies like my sponsor manage to unify design and functionality and transfer it to sport. Italians are passionate about good taste; food is an example. (Italian food) is cooked well: you don’t need lots of ingredients but it’s cooked in the right way and with the heart. In Quarrata I’ve learnt to appreciate internal design.”
Cavendish turned 30 last May and became a father for a second time. However he dismissed the idea that thoughts about family at home have made him more cautious in sprints.
“No, in fact you want to be stronger and do your best so that your family is proud of you,” he said. “If I go slow it doesn’t depend on my head but on my body. I’m getting old…”