The 2016 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race will be Mark Cavendish's first outing in Dimension Data colours with the 30-year-old confirmed for the January 31 race. It will be Cavendish's sole appearance in Australia early next year despite his Dimension Data team also starting the Tour Down Under.
"I am looking forward to starting the 2016 season in Victoria and racing for the first time with Team Dimension Data at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race," said Cavendish who hasn't raced in Australia since the 2011 Tour Down Under with his best result 62nd on the opening stage. "I’ve heard great things about the challenging Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race course and I’m especially excited to visit Geelong again – last time I was there was for the 2010 UCI Road World Championships."
Cavendish will balance a racing schedule that will see him on both the road and track next season with an appearance at the third round of the UCI Track World Cup in Hong Kong, January 15-17, likely to kick off the season ahead. With 26 Tour de France stage wins to his name and road world title among many other victories, Cavendish is aiming to add an Olympic gold medal to his lengthy palmares.
"He'll go to Hong Kong and then maybe the Dubai Tour but I have to look at the dates. Race organisers are contacting us almost every day now saying that they want Cavendish here and there, and he's pretty sought after but we’ll see," team manager Doug Ryder told Cyclingnews of the requests for his sprinter next season.
Dimension Data, known as MTN-Qhubeka this season, raced the inaugural edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race under a Pro-Continental licence with Tyler Farrar the team's best finisher in 37th place.
Cavendish is the third rider confirmed for the race following the announcement that Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) will both be in attendance for the second edition of the Geelong event. Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has also decided to make his 2016 season debut in Australia with Team Sky at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in early February.