Mark Cavendish will step up his plans to race in the Rio Olympic Games by competing on the track at the UCI World Cup in Hong Kong in January. Cavendish will race the Omnium for Great Britain, head of performance Shane Sutton confirmed to Cyclingnews.
Cavendish is currently training with the Great Britain track endurance team in Tenerife. The squad are there for a two-week block of altitude training, with Cavendish set to link up with his new trade team later this month in South Africa. The Great Britain camp does not include Bradley Wiggins, who has been handed a slightly different training programme to the rest of the team for this month.
“Mark has trained at Manchester but this is his first camp away with us. He's doing well and he’s just started training for the season,” Great Britain coach Brian Stephens told Cyclingnews this morning from Tenerife.
“He’s coming off a break but he’s putting all the hard yards in. He’s enthusiastic and working hard. He’s getting the basic kilometres back into his legs and he’s getting the rides done and doing them with a smile on his face. It’s a really hard camp here but he’s stepped up the mark here.”
Cavendish’s aim of competing at Rio depends on a number of factors, not least whether he rides the Omnium, the team pursuit or both. At this stage and with depth in the team, no position is certain, with Shane Sutton - who confirmed Cavendish’s Hong Kong spot via text - stressing throughout this season that reputations would not be the deciding factor in selecting the best team for Brazil.
Cavendish will of course have a number of targets on the road next year, with the Tour de France still the centrepiece to his season. At this point in time Cavendish can kill a number of birds with one stone as he gathers in the winter training miles and spends time building up his form with the British track team.
“It’s different every day but today is four hours, tomorrow is six and the day after is seven. It’s varied but there’s some ergo training in there too,” added Stephens. Generally morale is good. There are a few little niggling injures to get over but we’re looking forward to the next set of World Cups and the World Championships.”