Mark Cavendish joins Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome on British Olympic cycling team
Mark Cavendish will get a third shot at his first Olympic medal.
The 26-time Tour de France stage winner was named as part of the British Olympic track cycling team on Friday, a squad headlined by Bradley Wiggins, who shares the British record of seven Olympic medals.
Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, a 2012 Olympic time trial bronze medalist, headlines the road team.
Great Britain dominated track cycling at the London Games, winning seven of a possible 10 gold medals. Great Britain won no more than four gold medals in any other sport at those Games.
Cavendish was not part of that success story. After finishing a disappointing ninth with Wiggins in the 2008 Olympic madison event, he focused solely on the road race at the 2012 Olympics and suffered another letdown, 29th place.
This time last year, Cavendish’s outlook for Rio was not strong, as the road-race course did not suit his sprint prowess.
He returned to track cycling last August and set his sights on the omnium, a six-race event. The madison was taken off the Olympic program after 2008.
Cavendish finished sixth at the world championships this year. He was not certain to make the Olympic team, partially because the single British Olympic omnium rider must be available at least as a reserve for the team pursuit.
Cavendish has less recent experience in the team pursuit, where the Brits are defending Olympic champions and world silver medalists behind Australia the last two years.
In Rio, Cavendish could once again ride with Wiggins if they’re both called upon for the same four-man team pursuit round.
Cavendish is also expected to race in the Tour de France that runs from July 2-24, though he could bow out early to rest up for the Olympics, which open Aug. 5.
Rio is expected to be the final Games for Wiggins, age 36, who with a medal will break his tie with Chris Hoy to become the most decorated British Olympian of all time.