The current Olympic champion will face tough opposition from current world Omnium champion Fernando Gaviria of Colombia and Italy’s Elia Viviani. The Omnium starts on Friday morning with the men’s scratch race with the final of the six events on Saturday.
“I’ve got two hard days coming up, hopefully I’ll get another medal and I can go home happy,” Hansen told Cyclingnews after the team pursuit bronze medal ride against Italy Thursday evening.
“I wouldn’t say the aim is a medal; the aim is the gold medal. Everything is in place to go for gold, with my background.”
“I expect Viviani to be one of the really big contenders, Gaviria as well. I raced Cavendish in Hong Kong and, well, he put in a solid performance but to be honest I’m more afraid of Gaviria and Viviani.”
Cavendish is looking to ride to the Omnium at the Rio Olympic Games this summer as he searches for his first medal in the event. He missed out on the track in 2008 and came up short four years later on the roads of London.
The Dimension Data sprinter has spent several months honing his track form and he raced to fourth in the Omnium at the UCI Hong Kong World Cup in January. Hansen beat him to the bronze in the final event of the competition and the Dane believes that his own talent in the time trials gives him the edge.
“I don’t know how he [Cavendish] has been training. It’s a big name to race against – it’s always fun to race against the big names – but I’ve never raced against Gaviria and he looks really solid and just dominant in the Omnium the last couple of years. Viviani is always difficult to race – that’s probably why I’m afraid of him.”
“In the time trials I feel I can beat Cavendish in all of them. That’s a good standing point to have. With the time trials it’s easy to do some damage there and then try to do some damage control in the mass starts. In the end the points race is the most important, and I feel confident coming into that.”
“I’m feeling quite good. I don’t know exactly where I am yet, but we’ll see.”