Mark Cavendish sees Rio Olympic dream fade away

Etixx - Quick-Step sprinter Mark Cavendish claims the UCI's segregation of track and road cycling means his chances of qualifying for the Rio track team are probably over

Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse in the 2014 Six-days of Ghent
(Image credit: Watson)

Mark Cavendish claims track cycling ‘is going to die’ unless the UCI changes its Olympic qualification procedure.

The Manxman’s last Olympic track appearance was at Beijing 2008, but he left as the only British rider not to medal in the Games.

Since then Cavendish’s road racing commitments have made it virtually impossible for him to achieve selection to the Olympic track squad, with his current Etixx - Quick-Step team unwilling to release him during the road season to race on the track.

>>> Time running out for Mark Cavendish’s Olympic track dream, says Shane Sutton

And with another busy season on the road ahead, which includes targeting a win at Milan-San Remo and stage victories at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, the sprinter admits his Olympic dream is probably over.

“The (course for the) road race doesn't suit me," Cavendish told BBC Sport’s Matt Slater (opens in new tab).

“The time trial, well, I'm not a time triallist. And as for the track, the UCI has segregated track and road cycling completely.

>>> UCI confirm Rio 2016 Olympic Road Race and Time Trial courses

“So you have to do what Sir Bradley Wiggins is doing and quit road cycling to be able to qualify for it.

“It's killing track cycling, because you never get the road stars doing track anymore. Track cycling is going to die, particularly on the endurance side.”

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.