Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish recently joined forces to winning effect at the UCI Track World Championships, and their former road teammate David Millar is backing both of them to be successful at this summer’s Olympic Games.
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Unfortunately, the Madison is no longer an Olympic sport so the win cannot be repeated once the Games come round. What’s more, Sir Brad will not be satisfied with anything other than gold in the pursuit.
Cavendish has spoken about how the only thing missing from his palmarès is an Olympic medal. His chances were dashed in Beijing in 2008 when he and Wiggins were unsuccessful in the Madison, a result that reportedly led to a breakdown in their friendship.
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The Manxman is now pinning his hopes on the Omnium, an event he finished sixth in at the recent world champs. Millar was road captain when Cavendish became world champion in 2011, and he believes his former teammate’s ambitions aren’t entirely beyond him.
“Even for Cav it seems like a bit of a long shot, judging by his results. But with Cav and Wiggo I refuse to write them off in anything,” the multiple Grand Tour stage winner said.
“They just seem to be able to set these objectives and do things that you wouldn’t think it possible of them.”
He added: “That’s the thing about great athletes they do do that; they do things that nobody else believes they can do.”
For a sprinter as prolific as Cavendish, recent seasons have seemed disappointing as he has not had the success at big races – in particular the Tour de France – despite his overall tally of wins being pretty healthy.
A crash on the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France into Harrogate, Yorkshire, ended his race and in 2015 he could only manage a single stage win.
There will be a desire for him to right the wrongs of Beijing 2008 and London 2012 – where he was not in a position to contest the sprint in the road race – and Millar knows what it will mean to Cavendish to be successful, or not, in what will surely be his last Olympics.
“I hope he does [win gold] because I know what Cav’s like and I think even if he ends up winning like 30 stages of the Tour over his career or whatever, if he hasn’t got that gold medal there’s going to be a little thing that’s going to niggle him for the rest of his life.
“I’d never write him off. Fingers crossed.”
David Millar is an ambassador for Maserati GB, the title sponsor of the Tour de Yorkshire Ride. Visit yorkshire.com/tour-de-yorkshire/sportive
The sportive takes place as part of the Tour de Yorkshire, which runs from Friday April 29 to Sunday May 1.