Mark Cavendish wanted to race the Ghent Six-Day this week but team Omega Pharma-QuickStep told him to focus on the road.

“We pay him to perform on the road, and he must fully concentrate on that,” the team’s General Manager Patrick Lefevere told Belgium’s Sporza TV. “On the first day of the Ghent Six-Day, two riders crashed. What if one of them had been Mark? Furthermore, track racing does not fit into his preparations for next season.”

Omega Pharma’s Niki Terpstra and Iljo Keisse race six-days. Terpstra says that the events help to improve leg speed and to keep indoors in the winter.

Racing toward the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio presents another problem. Cavendish would have to use British Cycling sponsored-gear, wearing Sky on his chest and ride a Pinarello.

“Our bicycle sponsor, Specialized makes a considerable effort for Cavendish so of course I do not want to see Mark on a black bicycle,” Lefevere added. “As long as we pay him, I do not want to see him on the track.”

  • John Riggins

    Perhaps an attempt to nobble Team GB?

  • Aly

    Aww come on how can they keep Cav off the track!! If they want to keep him they just blew that!

  • Simon E

    I’d say that this is as much about the absence of OPQS & Specialized sponsors’ logos as anything else.

    Regarding the risk of injury, if Mark was racing in the endurance events these are probably less likely to cause a crash than the sprint events.

  • ian franklin

    This to me highlights the difference between the traditional continental approach to that of the ‘new’ nations. Sky & BC are taking a completely fresh approach and I am sure that they would have allowed Cav on the track in the winter, because it keeps the rider spinning and sprinting thus maintaining a higher level of skill and fitness. Very shortsighted of Lefevre, in my humble opinion. CW could do a very good feature analysing this situation and seeking opinions from others such as Danny Clark, Tony Doyle, Wiggo and others.

  • Mike

    Spot on Rich. Cavs famed “Second kick” comes from track racing. Crashes are, I believe, more prevalent on the road, so that argument is I think a smokescreen. You can bet he would come out of a Winter track season in top form.

  • Rich

    I would have thought that track racing would be ideal ‘off season’ training for a sprinter. As for the risk of injury from crashes; isn’t this what they risk every time they go for a stage win or intermediate sprint!

  • Janet mozelewski

    I think this is for the best and I think Lefevere has been wise in making this position clear. If anything it echoes recent comments by Cavendish.
    There is no doubt Cav would be tempted by the prospect of track gold. Only natural for an ambitious sportsman. But its a managers job to save him from himself. OPQS have invested heavily on backing Cav next year, and its clear that Cav knows he has to be at the top of his game to re-assert his dominance.
    From OPQS’s point of view British Cycling is too entwined with Sky. They are right to be wary of Sky interference. Sky and the Olympics have not been good to Cav’s career. Some things are never meant to be and we need someone to tell us that firmly.
    This way Lefevere has taken the responsibility for that decision. Cav now knows precisely what he must focus on, and hopefully without any further speculation later on.

  • Simon Wood

    There may be trouble ahead…