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Mark Cavendish reported to have booked Olympic place (+ video)

Injury to Jon Dibben sees Manx rider given Omnium nod as he targets medal

Mark Cavendish is reported to have booked his place on the plane to the Rio Olympic Games this summer with British Cycling said to have selected him for the Omnium.

According to the Daily Mail the decision was made easier due to an injury at the weekend to Jon Dibben, who won the points race at last month’s world championships in London.

Although Team GB’s cycling squad is not due to be announced until June, the newspaper reports that Cavendish, who was training with the national team in Manchester last week, has done enough to ensure selection.

Cavendish raced on the track at the Beijing Olympics, partnering Sir Bradley Wiggins in the Madison – the pair were reigning world champions – and led Team GB’s road race challenge at London 2012.

But despite starting favourite on both occasions, so far an Olympic medal has eluded him and he has targeted the Omnium in Rio as the event where he can finally secure one.

 Ahead of the world championships at Lee Valley VeloPark, Great Britain Cycling Team technical director Shane Sutton had said that the 30-year-old needed to secure a podium position to be considered for Rio.

He finished sixth in the six-discipline event, but clinched gold alongside Wiggins in a thrilling Madison.

> Cavendish and Wiggins win Madison world championship

Besides his victory in the points race in London, Dibben, aged 22, also rode in the final of the team pursuit where Great Britain took silver behind Australia.

Olympic rules mean that the man selected for the Omnium is in effect the fifth man in the team pursuit squad.

On that basis, a fully-fit Dibben would appear to have a better claim to a place, given he is a stronger pursuiter.

While Team GB used the same four riders in all three rounds in London four years ago – Andy Tennant was the fifth man but did not ride – there is an element of risk in selecting Cavendish should another rider fall ill or become injured.

But if the Manxman, who is due to ride the Tour de France with Dimension Data in July, gets the nod, that leaves selectors with a headache when it comes to filling the other team pursuit places.

Wiggins and Ed Clancy are the two shoo-ins, meaning that Tennant, Owain Doull and London 2012 gold medallist Steven Burke – all Team Wiggins riders, as is Dibben – will fight it out for the remaining three places.

Dibben is undergoing surgery today after breaking his elbow in a crash at the ZLM Roompot Tour at the weekend. British Cycling says he is is expected “to return to training imminently.”

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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