Great Britain and Mark Cavendish will head to the World Championships men’s road race in Doha next month among the favourites, with coach Rod Ellingworth maintaining that the belief within the team will be a major factor in whether they can win.
Cavendish has targeted a second rainbow jersey on the road as his last major objective for the season, and on Wednesday British Cycling announced a nine-man team that would work towards that aim.
The Dimension Data rider will be supported by Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Scott Thwaites, Luke Rowe, Adam Blythe, Dan McLay, Steve Cummings and Alex Dowsett.
“There’s a belief in the team and that’s going to be a big factor when then guys are on the line. They really think that we can take this on and really win,” Ellingworth told Cyclingnews just prior to the official selection being announced.
The flat course in Doha is expected to end in a bunch sprint. However, crosswinds, and the fact that a number of teams will work to break up the race regardless of the conditions, means that predicting the outcome of a race that will take place in three weeks’ time is a difficult task.
What Great Britain does have on their side as this stage is a settled line-up. Italy, with several sprinting options, have still not decided on their leader, while Germany’s predicament over whether to take Marcel Kittel or Andre Greipel is no closer to ending. Cavendish previously won the world title in Copenhagen in 2011.
“Yes, we’ve got one of the best sprinters in the world and he’s proved before that he can win the Worlds,” added Ellingworth.
"Then you’ve got up and coming young guys who are in the mix. For some of them it will be their first World Championships. It’s a great group. I’m really looking forward to taking it on with them.”
Cavendish is still finding his form on the road after winning a silver medal in the Olympic Games Omnium. He was second on the final day of the Giro della Toscana and when Cyclingnews spoke to him recently at the Tour of Britain, he remained tight-lipped over who would be his final lead-out man in Doha.
According to Ellingworth Cavendish and the team have yet to decide on that and it may be that they remain silent right up until the event in a bid to keep their rivals guessing.
“We don’t know yet. I think that there are options and that’s key. We’re yet to nail down that one but I know that Mark has ideas on how he wants the race to pan out for him. We’ll see how things go. He’s really up for it.”