Olympic Games: Viviani, Cavendish set for Omnium showdown

Italian leads by 14 points going into final two events

The Olympic Games men's Omnium is set for an epic showdown tonight that could look very similar to the intense three-way battle from the UCI Track World Championships in London.

In March, Italy's Elia Viviani was in the hot seat heading into the final points race, but was marked heavily by Colombian Fernando Gaviria. Britain's Mark Cavendish, who had sixth place secured, beat Viviani on the final point sprint. He was not pleased, as it meant he ended the race out of the medals in fourth.

The standings after the kilometer time trial in Rio this morning look quite similar to those in London, although instead of Gaviria it is Cavendish who stands to unseat the Italian.

The Manxman is sitting in third place overall, tied on points with Frenchman Thomas Boudat, 14 points behind Viviani. Defending Olympic Omnium champion Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark) is in fourth at 118 points, 22 down, after being the first man out in the Elimination Race.

Cavendish has made great strides in his timed events since the Worlds in London. He dropped 11 seconds in his individual pursuit and two seconds in the kilometer time trial. Those strong results made up for a mistake in the Elimination Race that saw him out of the race in seventh place. Cavendish excels in the flying lap and points race.

While the flying lap is important, the points race will be an absolute critical event: lapping the field is worth 20 points and each of the 16 sprints are worth 5 and there are several very dangerous and cagey points racers in the field. Viviani is an experienced trackie with several European championships in the points race to his name. Roger Kluge (Germany) won silver in the last Olympic Games points race in Beijing. Boudat was a junior world champion in the discipline.

At Worlds, Kluge sailed from sixth place to second after lapping the field twice with Australian Glenn O'Shea. Tied at 36 points behind Viviani, the two will need to repeat that performance to be in gold medal contention.

The men's flying lap gets underway at 20:00 UK time, 15:00EDT, with the final points race starting at 21:23UK/16:23EDT. Also on tap is the Women's Omnium Elimination Race and Individual Pursuit.

Men's Omnium standings

1Elia Viviani (Italy)140 pts
2Thomas Boudat (France)126 
3Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)126 
4Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark)118 
5Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Colombia)118 
6Roger Kluge (Germany)114 
7Glenn O'Shea (Australia)114 
8Dylan Kennett (New Zealand)110 
9Artyom Zakharov (Kazakhstan)88 
10Gideoni Monteiro (Brazil)78 
11Chun Wing Leung (Hong Kong, China)78 
12Tim Veldt (Netherlands)76 
13Sanghoon Park (Korea)74 
14Kazushige Kuboki (Japan)70 
15Bobby Lea (United States Of America)68 
16Gael Suter (Switzerland)62 
17Ignacio Prado (Mexico)62 
DNFJasper De Buyst (Belgium)  

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