Mark Cavendish wants another shot at the Olympics

Mark Cavendish will have an eye on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo when he returns to the track this winter.

Cavendish will race alongside Olympic team pursuit champion Owain Doull at Phynova Six Day London next month as he switches attention away from the road in the coming weeks.

And the move comes as the 34-year-old, who won omnium silver at the Rio Games three years ago, considers another tilt at winning a first career Olympic gold.

“I think everybody would love to go to the Olympics,” Cavendish told the PA news agency.

“I love to represent my country, I’m proud to be British and I’m proud to represent the jersey of the flag I was born under.

“It’s always a massive honour for me. I’m incredibly patriotic and the pinnacle of that is at the Olympics. Who wouldn’t want to go? If I could go to throw the javelin I’d love to go.”

The Manxman has had preliminary discussions with British Cycling coaches about what he would need to do to make that a reality.

Any plans will be dependent on his next move on the road, with Cavendish’s contract with Team Dimension Data ending this winter.

Cavendish must also overcome what has been the toughest period of his road racing career.

Mark Cavendish won omnium silver at the Rio Games three years ago
Mark Cavendish won omnium silver at the Rio Games three years ago (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A man who for so long made victory appear routine in winning 30 stages of the Tour de France is without a victory of any kind since February 2018 as he has battled the effects of the Epstein-Barr virus as well as a series of injuries.

This summer he was left devastated to be left out of Team Dimension Data’s squad for the Tour, against the wishes of the team’s own head of performance Rolf Aldag, who had believed Cavendish was ready to be competitive despite his lack of results.

Cavendish has since raced at events such as the Deutschland Tour and last week’s Tour of Britain, but though his best result was sixth place on stage three of the Tour de Pologne in early August, he said he has the form to be competitive in the coming weeks and at SixDay.

“I’m going good, and I expect to be good here,” he said.

“Obviously my summer plans weren’t the same as normal so I’m finishing up the season with probably not the same amount of fatigue in my legs as other years. I’ve carried on training without needing a break.”

A move to the track may give Cavendish a chance to put a frustrating year on the road to one side, though he insists the move will not make life any easier.

“It’s not as simple as just changing disciplines and doing something fresh,” he said.

“It’s actually hard work to change. People don’t really get it, but it’s two different sports – road cycling and track cycling, just because there’s two wheels, two pedals and a set of handlebars.

“You can argue rally driving and Formula One are all just driving but it’s different and it’s the same with cycling.

CONFIRMED: @MarkCavendish will be partnered by @owaindoull at #SixDayLondon 🔥🔥🔥

The field for October 22-27 is taking shape and it is looking loaded, with @CalebEwan set for a #SixDay debut💪


— Six Day (@sixdaycycling) September 16, 2019

“It’s hard work to transition. I know what I’m doing because I’ve been doing it my whole career so I know what to do, but it is a little bit more stressful.”

SixDay, which takes place from October 22-27, will take Cavendish back to the Lee Valley VeloPark, scene of the last of his three career world titles on the track as he won the Madison alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins there in 2016.

“I enjoy it a lot more, that’s for sure,” Cavendish said of racing on the track versus the road. “The pressure is never really off when you’re racing at home but I definitely enjoy racing on the track.

“It’s pure racing. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy road racing but the track, as a racer, is always exciting.”

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