He made the tough decision to miss out on an opportunity to win a fifth Champs-Élysées stage at the Tour de France, but Mark Cavendish says he will take his confidence from the first 16 stages of the race with him to the Olympic Games next month.
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But with the Olympics looming, Cavendish decided to leave the race on the second rest day in Berne to rest up before starting back on the track. And the 31-year-old says his success at the Tour will have a positive impact on his preparations for the Olympics.
“On a mental point of view I’m on a bit of a high from it. Not away on the clouds high. Not like I’m going on a piss up for a week after the Tour de France,” he said.
“I know that the work I’ve put in is working. I know the work I’ve put in has been beneficial, what we’ve set out this year is played into its place. It gives you positive feelings for the next goals you have.”
Mark Cavendish wins stage one of the 2016 Tour de France
Speculation was rife on the rest day in Berne that Cavendish would board a plane home, but he went out on a training ride with his teammates nonetheless.
In interviews he denied that he was about to quit before finally announcing that he was heading home. It wasn’t all pre-planned, however, with Cavendish insisting that he would have stayed if he had better sensations from the spin that day.
“If I’m honest during the Pyrenees I thought I might get to Montpellier. I was dead in the Pyrenees. That week, as I always do on a Grand Tour, I stepped up in the second week. I have done my whole career. I didn’t know if I would do and I did. I just kept going and kept going,” he said.
“The last two days, on the Sunday and Monday, I was tired. I knew I was making a detrimental effect. I stayed for the rest day and went for a ride. If I went out and I was floating I would’ve carried on but I came back and I was tired. I couldn’t push high power.”
Cavendish will represent Great Britain in the omnium on the track in Rio, an event which starts on August 14 and culminates the following day.