Mark Cavendish is expected to miss out on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as he has not been selected for the final World Cup event this year, a report has suggested.
British sprint star Cavendish still had a slim chance of inclusion in the track squad for the Olympics later this year, but British Cycling coach Iain Dyer said his chances were diminishing.
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Cavendish needs to race a World Cup event or the World Championships to qualify for Tokyo, but according to The Times newspaper he has not been selected for the final World Cup of the season, which means he will miss out on the Olympics.
The Times says that the places for the World Cup in Canada later this month have gone to Ollie Wood and Ethan Hayter, which means Cavendish would have to apply for special dispensation to be able to race the Olympics.
His omission from the World Cup squad suggests British Cycling coaches would not select Cavendish to race in Tokyo in any case.
Cavendish has made a return to the track this winter, competing in the London and Ghent Six Day events, but has been coy when asked whether he hopes to fight for gold in Tokyo next season.
The 34-year-old has a silver medal from the Omnium at the 2016 Rio games, when he missed out to Italian rival Elia Viviani.
Viviani has been progressing quickly on the track this winter, winning the elimination race at the European Track Championships in October.
Further motivation for Cavendish to ride the Olympics is the return of the Madison to the games, a discipline the Manxman has previously won at World Championship level on multiple occasions.
He would also need to overcome the fact that he is a specialist in the Madison and Omnium, but is not a team pursuiter, which makes him less versatile than some of his competition.
In December, BC coach Dyer said: “Opportunities are flying by which makes that increasingly difficult. You don’t do a madison on your own, so while it is still logistically a possibility the chances would appear to be diminishing at this point.
“The door is open, but it’s extremely challenging to carve out an opportunity.”