Mark Cavendish believes wearing the Tour de France yellow jersey, winning Olympic omnium gold and claiming a second World Road Race Champions’ jersey are all possible in 2016.
The 30-year-old Dimension Data rider has based himself in Manchester since December to facilitate a track training programme at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre as part of his preparations for this summer’s Rio Games, an objective that will likely impact on his road schedule throughout the season.
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
Nonetheless, he is confident of being able to challenge for three big objectives across two disciplines of the sport in a four-month period.
“It’s a pretty full on year, but I’ve done it before, when I backed up that last half of the season in 2011 [to win] the [Tour de France] green jersey and the Worlds,” he said.
“I think I can do it again – I’m in a great environment to do it.”
The famed maillot jaune is the only Grand Tour leader’s jersey Cavendish has failed to wear in his illustrious career, but the opening stage to Utah Beach in Normandy looks suited to a sprinter.
Cavendish said that he wants to “compete and win” in the omnium at Rio, as seeks to claim his first Olympic gold medal. The Manxman famously missed out in the Madison at Beijing in 2008 and in the London 2012 road race, but described himself “super happy” with his current form following his recent track training block.
And while he says adding another rainbow jersey to his collection at this October’s Road World Championships would be “amazing…something quite tremendous”, surpassing Bernard Hinault on the all-time list of Tour de France stage winners this summer is not something he’s aiming for.
Hinault won 28 stages in his career, two more than Cavendish’s current tally.
He said: “It’s not really my target if I’m honest. I’m kind of laughed at if I only win two or three stages nowadays, whereas one stage can make a riders’ career.
“I think the days of six or seven sprints per Tour de France are long gone; I’ve got to make the most [of opportunities] before sprinting is an extinct form in cycling.”