Cav is nearly out of time – Sutton

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Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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British cycling chief Shane Sutton believes time has probably run out for Mark Cavendish to return to the track for the 2016 Olympics.

Cavendish, one of the greatest sprinters of all time, was considering competing in the omnium in Rio de Janeiro in a bid to cap his phenomenal career with an elusive Olympic gold.

The Manxman has focused largely on road racing since riding in the Madison, now discontinued at Olympic level, in Beijing in 2008.

Changes to the format of the omnium were believed to make that event attractive for a possible track return, but opportunities are running out for the 29-year-old to acquire the necessary qualification points.

Sutton said: “I would say Cav is a no. We would have opened the door to Cav, of course.

“He is one of those born with the gift. He can do anything technically, he has been world champion on the track and the greatest road sprinter of all time.

“But unfortunately I think it is the end of the road for Cav. I think he has made his decision not to entertain it.

“There is no cut-off date. The road ends when he can’t numerically qualify, simple as that. Until that point the door open for Cav.

“But if he doesn’t put the points on the board he can’t qualify.”

Sutton can understand why Cavendish, a two-time track world champion, might want to retain focus on road racing given that his contract with his team Etixx-QuickStep expires at the end of the year.

Sutton said: “I am one of Cav’s biggest admirers, as everybody knows. I just want what is best for Cav and at this moment his choice is to protect his road contract.

“You are talking about the greatest road sprinter of all time. He might never have won that Olympic medal that he probably craves but in the bigger picture it is small fry compared to what he has achieved.”

Sutton, speaking at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, revealed that Jon Dibben will compete in the multi-faceted omnium in next week’s UCI Track World Championships in Paris. The other candidate, Ed Clancy, will focus on the team pursuit at this event.

While the possibility of an Olympic return for Cavendish might be receding, Sutton feels plans for other road racers to feature – notably Sir Bradley Wiggins – are on course.

He said: “Brad is the big one in all this. His desire is there, he has set up team meetings – Brad is a definite.

“Ben Swift is very keen and I think we will see the return of Peter Kennaugh, the Olympic TP champion.

“And there is one other rider I would like to see think about his Olympic ambitions. I am pretty sure he could make the road team, but I would like to see Luke Rowe have a look at the team pursuit.”

Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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