Viviani poised ahead of Olympic Games omnium finale

Italian surprised by Cavendish's fast start

Elia Viviani (Italy) lies just two points off the lead after three events in the men's omnium at the Rio 2016 Olympics. The Italian trails Thomas Boudat (France), but lies six points ahead of Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) ahead of the second day.

Viviani placed 7th in the opening scratch race and then notched up the third best mark in the individual pursuit, clocking a time of 4:17.45. The Sky rider proceeded to win the elimination race, defeating Boudat in the final sprint.

"For the scratch, the glass is half full and half empty," Viviani told Tuttobici. "Then in the pursuit, we saw [Lasse Norman] Hansen was going strong. But I'm calm. The first day has gone well. I did everything possible and maybe even a bit more."

Viviani placed 6th in the omnium at the London 2012 Olympics, having held a share of the lead ahead of the final event. The Italian also led into the final points race at this year's Track Worlds in London in March, but slipped to 4th and complained that Cavendish had ridden in favour of world champion Fernando Gaviria (Colombia) in the final sprint.

"At the Olympics, you need to think positive. I'll go to sleep tonight with a smile because I've worked a lot for this event, and even sacrificed a lot of the road season," Viviani said on Sunday. "I want to come back to Italy with something, so tomorrow [Monday] we'll decide the strategy for the points race after the fifth event."

The omnium resumes on Monday with the kilometre time trial. The flying lap is the penultimate event ahead of the points race finale. Roger Kluge (Germany) and Fernando Gaviria (Colombia) are each on 90 points and remain in contention, while the reigning champion Hansen is 6th on 86 points, after surprisingly being the first rider to lose out in the elimination race.

Cavendish, meanwhile, could only manage 7th in the elimination race as he was adjudged to have come off the track while attempting to move up, but the Manxman's startling individual pursuit performance – only Hansen bettered his time of 4:16 – saw Viviani label him as the most surprising performer thus far.

"The surprise of the first day? Cavendish, but you've seen that all the British are flying," Viviani said.

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