Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins could ride the Madison at the UCI Track World Championships in March, according to Great Britain head coach, Shane Sutton. The pair rode the event at the Revolution Series last autumn, the first time they had competed together in the discipline since the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Cavendish is a two-time Madison winner at the top level, having won the event in 2005 with Rob Hayles and again in 2008 with Wiggins. The Dimension Data rider is scheduled to ride the Omnium at the Hong Kong round of the Track World Cup later this month but Sutton has told Cyclingnews that his performance there could dictate Cavendish’s plans and schedules for the March Worlds, which take place in London. This year Cavendish is hoping to align a successful season on the road with the ambition of wining a medal at the Olympic Games in Rio. Unfortunately for him the Madison is no longer on the Olympic programme with the Omnium his best chance of success.
“By his own admission he’s probably struggling a little bit but I think he’s also struggling with the level of expectation,” Sutton told Cyclingnews at the Manchester velodrome last week.
“He doesn’t know what to expect but we all expect because he’s Mark Cavendish. From my perspective he just needs to go through the process in order to get the outcome we all want and in order for him to be on the plane to the Games. We’d all love him to be on that plane but there’s a process and unfortunately part of that process, which is probably not ideal in Cav’s world, is Hong Kong.
“Whether on the back of that he goes to Australia and does a couple of races there, does Dubai and then comes back here and is ready for the Worlds, we’re not sure but at this moment in time he’ll definitely do the Madison with Wiggins at the Worlds, if he doesn’t do the Omnium, because then that puts him back into track mode but I’m sure he and his coach Heiko Salzwedel will sit down after Hong Kong and discuss whether he’s the viable option for us to select for the Worlds after Hong Kong. But as I’ve said to him, long term, he like Bradley will have the opportunity to walk onto this track, pre-Games and show us what they’re capable of. If he can produce the times we’re looking for they’ll be on the plane. That’s the same for everybody else.”
Great Britain’s options for the Omnium in Rio are wide open with Ed Clancy struggling and Cavendish in the middle of a his track perorations. The road sprinter has spent time in Tenerife training with the track squad and the last few weeks have been spent at the Manchester velodrome as he prepares for Hong Kong. Sutton believes that Cavendish’s possible road to Rio should be treated as no different to the other riders and that the sprinter’s motivation is of the highest order.
“When you look at someone like Ed who is out injured at the moment, or someone like Jon Dibben, they’ve all got different pathways. It’s the same with Chris Froome. He rides for a WorldTour team but he’s still going for the Olympics. Track or road, your priorities remain the same. I don’t think that Mark has to worry about what anyone else is doing. He needs to focus on what he’s doing but I’m certain after my conversations with him that his desire and hunger and the want to do this is massive. With the ability he’s got he should be able to get that over the line but I wouldn’t rule anyone else out.
“For sure, it’s wide open for the Omnium. Ed’s injury has opened the door for the others but lets not write Ed off yet. If Cav can go to Hong Kong and put in a solid one, and you have to remember that he’s starting from a long way back here, but we also have to appreciate what he has when he’s on his game. Cav, Brad they’re very honest and up front. They’ll tell you whether they’re ready or not.”
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