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Cavendish still aiming for Rio spot - and has Wiggins' backing

Shane Sutton confirms Manxman has put his name forward for Olympic selection

Mark Cavendish is still aiming to win Olympic gold in the omnium in Rio this summer, with Great Britain technical director Shane Sutton confirming he has put himself forward for selection. Meanwhile Sir Bradley Wiggins says Cavendish deserves to ride in Brazil.

Prior to the world championships earlier this month at Lee Valley VeloPark, where Cavendish and Wiggins won a rousing Madison, Sutton had said the Manxman would need to finish on the podium in the omnium to be considered for Rio.

> Cavendish and Wiggins win Madison world championship 

The 30-year-old finished sixth, and while some see Jon Dibben – winner of points race gold in London – as a stronger candidate for the six-discipline event, it seems the door remains open for Cavendish.

Sutton told Sky Sports News: "I spoke to him earlier this week on what his intentions were and his intentions are to carry on with the project.

"Given his performance at the worlds, he's decided that he wants to be put forward for selection at the Games.

"We just wanted him to go away and see where he was at. He's decided he feels he's done enough to warrant putting himself forward and he believes he can still win."

Cavendish’s weakest event in the omnium is the individual pursuit, which many see as hampering his chances of competing in the event in Rio since whoever participates in that event will also form part of the five-man endurance squad that will defend Team GB’s team pursuit crown.

Dibben rode in that event for Great Britain win at the world championships where the country took silver behind Australia, and another potential candidate for the omnium is Ed Clancy.

The Yorkshireman won bronze in the event at London 2012 and is a former world champion in it, although he has said that he is focused on the team pursuit this time round.

A decision on whether Cavendish will secure a place on the team will be made by 13 June, less than three weeks before the start of the Tour de France, where the Dimension Data rider is aiming to take the yellow jersey on the opening stage.

The most successful sprinter in the race’s history with 26 stage victories, Cavendish would need to cut short his participation in the race should he be selected for Rio, however, to give himself enough time to prepare for the track cycling programme, which takes place from 11-16 August.

Wiggins rode with Cavendish on the track at Beijing in 2008 in the Madison, the last time it was an Olympic event, but the pair – world champions then, as they are now – finished out of the medals.

Aiming himself for what will be his fifth Olympic gold as part of the team pursuit squad, Wiggins told BBC Sport that Cavendish deserves to be at Rio, saying: "I think Mark will be in Rio and I want him there.

"The Olympics is the one that it's really about for him. Once he gets given the green light for that, his performance will go up again because he's got nothing to lose,” he continued.

"Mark is a special character and he needs to be given freedom to do it his way. He'll do what he thinks is best for him and I think he'll think that riding the Tour de France for his fitness will be better for him for the omnium," Wiggins added.

Simon joined 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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