What will Mark Cavendish be competing in at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games? Mark Cavendish is without a doubt one of the most recognisable names in British cycling, but many might not know the disciplines the road racing star will be competing in at the Olympic Games.
Cavendish, who received an MBE in 2011, is probably best known for his achievements on the road; winning the points classification in the Vuelta a Espana in 2010, the Tour de France in 2011 and in the Giro d’Italia in 2013. He’s widely regarded as one of the best sprinters of the era.
The 31 year old has taken four World Championship top prizes in his career, in the Madison in 2005, 2008 and this year in 2016, and in the road race back in 2011. And it’ll be his success in the Madison that he’s looking to turn into Olympic gold this summer, as he is hoping to be competing in the multi-race Omnium event in Rio de Janiero this August.
Controversially, Cav is also set to take the fifth place in the Team Pursuit line up in Rio.
Olympic Record | Has Mark Cavendish Won an Olympic Medal Before?
Mark Cavendish has competed in the Olympics before, at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, but he has never won a medal.
At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Cavendish paired with Bradley Wiggins in the Madison event, and as the two were the reigning World Champions at the time – as they are now – they were favourites to come out on top.
In a shock poor performance though, Cavendish and Wiggins could only finish ninth in the Madison, with Argentina taking the gold. There was talk in the aftermath that while Cavendish looked on top form in the event, Wiggins looks tired, having competed and won two gold medals in the four days previous to the race, and was unable to give his all.
In the end, Cavendish was the only member of the Team GB track cycling team in Beijing not to win a medal.
At the London Olympics in 2012, Cavendish rode in the road race, with a strong team of Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and David Millar, but his Olympic efforts would again end in heartbreak.
The British team were forced to set the pace from the start, with very few other nations offering any support, and effectively conspiring against him.
In the end, a large breakaway on the final climb of the Box Hill circuit was beyond Cavendish, who could only finish 29th despite the best efforts of Froome, Wiggins and Millar.
2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games | What Event Will Mark Cavendish Be Competing In?
Mark Cavendish is Team GB’s pick for the Omnium at the Olympic Games in Rio – but he’ll have to fend off Jon Dibben and London 2012 bronze medallist Ed Clancy if he’s going to get the nod. Only one spot is available.
However, reports have suggested recently that due to a broken elbow suffered by Jon Dibben, Cavendish will indeed be Team GB’s first pick to represent the country in the six-event discipline in Rio.
The Omnium is a track cycling discipline that consists of several different events; the flying lap, the points race, the elimination race, the individual pursuit, the scratch race and the time trial. Points are awarded per place for each event and the person with the best tally at the end is the winner.
The Omnium has only been part of the Olympic program since London 2012, where it was won by Danish rider Lasse Norman Hansen. It replaced the Madison, the points race and the individual pursuit.
Mark Cavendish has been training with the Team GB Olympic squad in between his commitments on the road with Team Dimension Data to make sure he’s not just making up the numbers when he does get on the saddle in Rio, and after a stunning World Championship Madison win with Sir Bradley Wiggins earlier this year, he’s certainly shown that he’s got it in his locker.
It's ALSO looking like Mark Cavendish will now fill the fifth place in the men's team pursuit - a controversial choice given his lack of experience and recent training in the area. He'll be alongside alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull, and the London gold medallists Steven Burke and Ed Clancy.
Mark Cavendish told British Cycling: “I’ve made no secret that my aim is to win an Olympic medal and I’m so pleased to have been given this opportunity. It’s always a proud moment to be able to pull on a GB jersey and to be able to do so at the Olympic Games is extra special. I’ve given my all to training these past few months and I’m committed to doing my absolute best out in Rio."
Where and When can I Watch Mark Cavendish at the Rio Olympic Games?
You can watch all track cycling events, and indeed all Olympic events, live on the BBC on your television, the red button or online.
The heats, semi-finals and finals for the men's team pursuit will all be on the evening of Thursday 11 August.
The men’s omnium schedule can be found below:
Elimination Race: Sunday 14 August, evening
Individual Pursuit: Sunday 14 August, evening
Scratch Race: Sunday 14 August, evening
Time Trial: Monday 15 August, morning
Flying Lap: Monday 15 August, evening
Points Race: Monday 15 August, evening