Wiggins and Cavendish join track squad for pre-Tour of California training camp

Team building ahead of Rio Olympics

The Great Britain endurance team, which includes Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, are in the United States, for a training camp ahead of the Tour of California.

In their first major gathering since the UCI Track World Championships in March, the team will concentrate on building base miles.

"The dust has just settled from the Worlds and we’re getting back into training," team pursuit coach, Heiko Salzwedel, told Cyclingnews from the team’s US base.

"Now it’s not really the right time to talk about selection. We’re here as a team and not fighting each other, it’s about conditioning and miles on the road. After Tour of California, then we’ll look at selection."

The training camp also includes Ed Clancy and Stephen Burke – two team pursuit riders who are competing with Mark Cavendish for the one Ominum spot at the Olympic Games. There was no place at the camp for fellow Omnium hopeful, Jon Dibben, who is still recovering from recent surgery.

"It’s very frustrating but the doctor didn’t allow the flight," said Salzwedel. "He couldn’t come with us. He’s training at home. I get daily updates from him and the doctor and progress is normal, it’s good but it’s a race against time."

With less than 100 days to go to until the Olympics in Rio, Salzwedel finds himself in the unenviable position of selecting the five riders for the Great Britain men’s endurance squad. The current camp will not factor into his selection plans, and he puts forward the argument that the time away in the US is best spent building camaraderie and team spirit. After a hugely difficult period for British Cycling, Salzwedel is pleased that the athletes' well being is being put first.

"It’s a distraction, of course, but we’re professionals," he told Cyclingnews, before adding that, "the riders know we’re looking at performance so that means they’re handling it all in a professional way."

As for Cavendish, the Omnium spot remains a realistic target. Reports in April suggested that the Dimension Data rider had all but guaranteed the place on the plane to Rio, especially given Dibben’s set back. However question marks remain over Cavendish’s team pursuiting. He was not selected to ride in any of the heats at the World Championships and like a number of his teammates he’s not been on a track since the Worlds.

"He’s in a very good position but I don’t want to play one person’s mishap against someone else," Salzwedel told Cyclingnews.

"I’m preparing everyone as well as I can, whether it’s Jon, Ed, or Mark. I want to give everyone the best from myself. We’re building up the team spirit and we’re in a good situation here."

After the training camp the team will split up with Cavendish competing at the Tour of California with Bradley Wiggins under their trade team colours. Wiggins recently abandoned the Tour de Yorkshire but returns to the US for the first time since his overall win in the race, back in 2014.

"Brad really enjoys his freedom now," Salzwedel added.

"He doesn’t follow any pressures and he doesn’t care about any public opinion at the moment. He’s enjoying this and underplaying his role at the moment. He could do more but I’ve given him complete freedom because he knows what he’s doing and he knows how to get himself in shape. He’s enjoying being the man who doesn’t get all the attention at this time, and he’s enjoying being part of the team."

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