Cavendish ready to switch between road and track racing in 2016

Mark Cavendish is not concerned about switching from road to track and back again in 2016 as he looks to add yet more Tour de France stages, an Olympic medal and a second world title to his palmares.

Cavendish already rode a mixed calendar towards the end of the 2015 season, with brief appearances at the opening round of the revolution in Derby and the GP Dudenhofen, in Germany. He is also due to make an appearance at the final round of the World Cup in Hong Kong in January, where he will ride the Omnium. The Manxman believes that the track calendar, the World Championships in Qatar, and his road racing goals are spread out enough for him to have a successful season.

“The Worlds is miles away, I could take a holiday and win the Worlds I reckon,” he told Cyclingnews with a smile at the MTN-Qhubeka training camp in South Africa as he prepares for the 2016 with his new team, that will be known as Team Dimension Data.

Team manager Doug Ryder has said that, even though Cavendish will not be riding for the team, the Olympics will be a priority during 2016 and that he is fully prepared to back the 30-year-old.

Cavendish admits that with so many big targets in 2016 he will tackle them one at a time.

“We’ll have to see how it goes, there’s a long season before the Tour de France,” he said. “The team is actually really supportive of my goals across the track and the road. We’ll just take it as it goes. I might be too tired to do the Tour de France or the Olympics but we’ll keep note during the whole season. I’ve always done that anyway with every team, they’ve always looked out for me throughout the season.”

“I like to race but sometimes the problem is that I like to race too much and, it’s not just this team, every team that I’ve been with have always really wanted to look after me and I don’t think that will change.”

Training on the track

Cavendish had hoped to immerse himself in the track over the winter as he did last year with some Six Day appearances but the shoulder injury he suffered at the Tour of Britain put paid to that. “I just managed to do it last year after the Tour de France and I was still in pain during the Six Days. So to do it with two months less recovery, I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” he told Cyclingnews.

After that disruption, Cavendish has been keen to get going again and he announced that he would be racing on the track in January at the Hong Kong round of the Word Cup. He has recently been training with the British track team in Tenerife and had hoped to extend his stay in Cape Town to get back on the boards but the track owners wouldn’t oblige.

Cavendish is enjoying his time on the track, back where his career began, but he says that it is still too early to see how he compares to the world’s best.
“It’s been good. I can’t really see how it’s going until I race at international level at a World Cup and then I will get a real feel of where I am on the world stage. I’ll be able to see it from January,” he said.

“Training on the track is not for me, it’s too intense for me, but definitely the group of guys that BC (British Cycling) have got are such a good group of guys. Ed [Clancy – who Cavendish is up against for a spot in the Omnium] is one of my best friends, he’s a guy that I’ve grown up with since I was about 15. To be back with them and those young lads is great. I was in Tenerife with them and I was just crying with laughter and that’s without Brad even being there. Most of them are from the north of England and it’s a really dry humour. It’s really good to be around.”

The track will have to wait a little while as Cavendish continues his training camp with the MTN-Qhubeka team, which is due to run until Sunday. After taking a brief break from the bike to hike up Cape Town’s Table Mountain, which you can see in this exclusive gallery, the riders will be back on their bike on Wednesday.

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Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.