Viviani happy to have Cavendish as Omnium rival at Track World Championships

'His presence will take the pressure and attention off me,' says Italian

Elia Viviani has welcomed the news that he will race against Mark Cavendish in the Omnium in this year’s Track World Championships, suggesting the Manxman’s presence will give him a better chance in the often decisive points race, which is now the sixth and final event in the Omnium.

The two sprinters clashed in the recent Dubai Tour, with Viviani winning stage 2 after an excellent lead out from his Team Sky teammates. Viviani was second behind stage 4 and overall winner Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep), with Cavendish third. Last week Viviani returned to Italy to begin his track training for the Omnium, while Cavendish headed to the Tour of Qatar and won the opening stage and the final classification.

Viviani won the European Omnium title in 2015 and finished third in the world championships behind Fernando Gaviria of Colombia and Australia's Glenn O'Shea. He was sixth in the Omnium at the 2012 London Olympics.

“Cav’s going to ride the Omnium? I’m happy, its better for me,” Viviani told Gazzetta dello Sport as he trained on the Montichiari track near Verona just two weeks from the start of the Track World Championships in London.

“After riding in the World Cup event in Hong Kong, Cav had hinted he’d ride the Scratch and the Madison with Wiggins but his selection for the Omnium doesn’t surprise me; Great Britain clearly wants to see him in action at the world championships before deciding on his place in the Omnium for the Rio Olympics.

“They’ve got two other proven riders for the Omnium in Clancy and Dibben. I think that Clancy is actually my biggest rival because in the pursuit and Kilometre events, he’s definitely the strongest and he’s pretty good in the points race too. Dibben is developing quickly too.

“That doesn’t mean I’m underestimating Cavendish. His presence will take the pressure and attention off me, especially in the final points race, where I’m always closely marked. The fact that he’s in there, along with Gaviria – who is no longer an unknown and with Lasse Norman Hansen – who is back to his best, means that everyone won’t race just against me and I won’t be forced to chase everyone down.”

Italy focuses on endurance events, Bronzini unlikely to ride in London

Viviani is currently in his final block of track training, working on the six disciplines for the Omnium and even for the team pursuit that he is set to ride with Simone Consonni, Liam Bertazzo, Francesco Lamon, Michele Scartezzini and Filippo Ganna. Viviani could also ride the Madison, where he will face Cavendish and Wiggins.

Gazzetta dello Sport revealed that Italy will field a limited team for the London world championships, with only one rider in the sprint events. Francesco Ceci is hoping to secure a place in the Olympic Keirin with a good ride in London but Italy will not field any women in sprint events, preferring to focus on the endurance events.

The women’s squad has recently returned from two weeks of altitude training in Duitama in Colombia. However, Giorgia Bronzini – who has often secured Italy’s only medal at the Track World Championships, is almost certain not to be part of the team as she focuses on her road season.

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