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

GB technical director admits Manxman needs to start earning Olympic qualification points "now".

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

Mark Cavendish needs to return to international track racing as soon as possible if he wants to make the British team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, admits GB technical director Shane Sutton.

Cavendish has to amass qualification points to have any chance of competing on the track at the Olympics - for the second time in his career - in just two years' time.

The Quick Step sprinter earned some during at the low-key International Belgian Open in Ghent last September, but Sutton said the Manxman needs to pick more up before this summer if his Olympic dream is to continue.

“He needs to start now and he's looking at that,” Sutton told Cycling Weekly. “We've tried to encourage Mark, but you're talking about one of the all-time greats of the sport.

“The demands on him are massive; putting pressure on him about coming back to the track and winning the omnium isn't the way we work. Mark knows the support system is there for him if he wants it.

“The door is open for him, it just depends whether he wants to walk through it or not. I think he has the pedigree, but it's up to him.”

Sutton was speaking at the London Track World Cup meeting, where promising talent Jon Dibben placed seventh overall in the men's omnium after seeing his medal chances disappear when his foot unclipped from his pedal during the elimination race.

Dibben took silver in October's European Championships, and Sutton admits that having Cavendish – as well as Sky's Ben Swift - lurking in the background will motivate the 20-year-old as Rio draws closer.

“It keeps a bit of pressure on Jon. If you're Jon you want something to keep you on your toes, and you don't get bigger than having those guys wanting his spot,” added Sutton.

"Let’s be honest, who in Rio wouldn’t want Mark Cavendish or Sir Bradley Wiggins there, but because we are governed by this points thing that makes it difficult for these people."

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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.