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Mark Cavendish's Rio hopes dealt blow after 6th place omnium finish

Shane Sutton says no decision yet made but Jon Dibben looks to have stronger claim

Mark Cavendish’s hopes of riding the omnium at the Rio Olympics this summer appear to be over after he finished sixth in the event at the UCI Track World Championships yesterday evening – although Great Britain technical director Shane Sutton insisted afterwards that no decision had been made yet.

Last week, Sutton said that Cavendish needed to secure a podium place at the worlds to guarantee his seat on the flight to Rio.

But while the Manxman managed to secure points in some of the sprints in the points race that concluded the omnium, he was closely marked and proved unable to gain the lap that could have seen him secure a medal.

After the event, won by defending champion Fernando Gaviria of Colombia, Sutton reflected on Cavendish’s performance, telling the BBC: “His name didn’t help him, being the greatest road sprinter of all time. He had a big number on his back all night.

“We’ll sit down and discuss where he goes from here. He and his coach will look at the analysis from this week and decide.”

He added: “Emotions are high and he has to refocus for the Madison on Sunday. At the end of the day he didn’t get the result he wanted.”

This afternoon’s Madison, which will feature in BBC2’s live coverage from 2pm to 6pm, sees Cavendish reunited with Sir Bradley Wiggins for an event in which the pair won the rainbow jersey at Manchester in 2008.

In Beijing later that year – the last time the Madison was an Olympic event – the pair finished out of the medals and at London 2012, where Cavendish was favourite to win the road race, he missed out as a strong group of riders got away on the final ascent of Box Hill.

After completing the omnium yesterday, Cavendish said: “Hopefully I did enough. I don't know, we're incredibly lucky in Britain that we've got a strong group of guys."

It’s that strength in the men’s endurance squad, however, that will play a major factor in whether or not he makes the Olympic team, and the odds are stacked against him.

Olympic qualification criteria mean that the rider selected for the omnium also needs to be the fifth man for the team pursuit squad.

For that reason Jon Dibben – winner of the points gold medal on Friday, and a much stronger pursuiter than Cavendish, helping Great Britain put in the fastest qualification time for the team pursuit on Wednesday – is likely to get the place.

> Track Worlds: Dibben takes gold as GB double medal tally

Sir Bradley Wiggins and Ed Clancy, winner of omnium bronze at London 2012 but who is focused now on the team pursuit, seem definites for Rio, leaving Steven Burke, Owain Doull and Andy Tennant, all of whom rode the event this week, fighting for the other two spots.

While their seasons are built around Rio, Cavendish will be riding the Tour de France for Dimension Data beforehand.

Making him in effect the reserve for the team pursuit squad would therefore seem an uncharacteristic gamble on the part of Team GB in an event in which, on this week’s showing, the country has a realistic Olympic gold medal chance.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Gkam84 | 8 years ago
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John Dibben Ed Clancy can both ride Team Pursuit, Cav isn't in the running for that and if what Chris Hoy was saying about every male in the endurance squad for the Olympics must ride at least one round of the team pursuit is correct, then Cav won't be going.

 

Clancy is fit and back racing, so as long as it doesn't go wrong for him, I can't see Cav getting a place at all.

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DrJDog replied to Gkam84 | 7 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

John Dibben Ed Clancy can both ride Team Pursuit, Cav isn't in the running for that and if what Chris Hoy was saying about every male in the endurance squad for the Olympics must ride at least one round of the team pursuit is correct, then Cav won't be going.

 

Clancy is fit and back racing, so as long as it doesn't go wrong for him, I can't see Cav getting a place at all.

 

Cav can also ride team pursuit, I guess it's just been a while since he was riding it regularly. Yes, Clancy is back racing, but is he fully fit? He dropped off in the last, for sure. Was Dibben's dropping out as scheduled? We don't know the answers to any of these questions, really. Whoever ends up not going will probably feel hard done by, whatever the outcome. We all know that Shane Sutton is a ruthless s**t, so I guess he'll do what he feels is best.

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usedtobefaster replied to Gkam84 | 7 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:

John Dibben Ed Clancy can both ride Team Pursuit, Cav isn't in the running for that and if what Chris Hoy was saying about every male in the endurance squad for the Olympics must ride at least one round of the team pursuit is correct, then Cav won't be going.

 

Clancy is fit and back racing, so as long as it doesn't go wrong for him, I can't see Cav getting a place at all.

 

That's not quite the case - if the TP squad wins a medal then for an individual rider to be awarded a medal he has to ride at least 1 round, there's no rule which says you must use all 5 riders in the TP competition.  This is what upset Rebecca Romero in 2012 when she wasn't given a qualifying round ride, so she was the only one in the womens TP squad not to be awarded a medal.

 

There are only 5 endurance places available so BC has the choice of either 4 TP riders + 1 omnium rider, or 5 TP riders and 1 of these can also ride ominium.  Jon or Ed fill the criterion for the the later combination, and Cav if it's the former choice. The team will be picked so that the TP gold is not risked, a gold in the TP is alot more predictable than gold in the omnium and don't forget alot of BC funding comes down to Olympic medal count, which is likely to mean Jon or Ed over Cav.

 

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Leviathan | 8 years ago
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There is no reason not to send Cav if Clancy is still not fit. Its not complicated. Cav is still class and close enough for now.

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kevinmorice replied to Leviathan | 8 years ago
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Leviathan wrote:

There is no reason not to send Cav if Clancy is still not fit. Its not complicated. Cav is still class and close enough for now.

 

John Dibben might not agree with that.

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HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
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Cav has a bee in his bonnet about an Olympic gold medal and he's entitled to that ambition but if you ask me he's won 28 races that eclipse an olympic track gold medal any day of the week; Milan-San Remo, the road WC and 26 TdF stages.

I suppose the appetite grows with the eating, nice problem to have.

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peted76 replied to HalfWheeler | 7 years ago
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HalfWheeler wrote:

Cav has a bee in his bonnet about an Olympic gold medal and he's entitled to that ambition but if you ask me he's won 28 races that eclipse an olympic track gold medal any day of the week; Milan-San Remo, the road WC and 26 TdF stages.

I suppose the appetite grows with the eating, nice problem to have.

I agree but for the general public, an Olympic Gold means the pinnacle of sport. Cav gets a gold or two in the Olympics and all of a sudden he gets elevated to Steve Redgrave/Jessica Ennis/Chris Hoy/Brad Wiggins status by the British public (not just the cycling community).

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