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Crunch time for Cavendish's Olympic dreams

Mark Cavendish has been warned his dream of crowning his career with an Olympic medal could be over if he fails to secure a top-three finish in next week's Track World Championships in London.

Cavendish might have to miss the Tour de France. Credit: PA

Cavendish will return to the track to contest the omnium event at the London Velodrome in a race that could prove pivotal to his ambition of finally claiming that elusive place on the podium in Rio.

With competition for places at a premium, British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton expects Cavendish to be under no illusions over what is expected of him over the final few months of build-up to the Games.

Sutton said: "For Cav to be in Rio he needs to perform well next week - I would like to think he would very close to the top three in London, and he would be expecting that of himself, otherwise he would rule himself out.

"If he can't make the top three in the world, I think he would put his hand up and go back and pursue his dreams of the leaders' yellow jersey and winning stages of the Tour de France."

Cavendish is hungry for an Olympic medal after being the only member of the Great Britain team to miss out in London, and having also failed to take an expected medal alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins in the madison in Beijing in 2008.

But in order to return to track contention Cavendish will be expected to make a significant number of sacrifices, including potentially curtailing his involvement in this year's Tour de France, and also, if selected in the omnium, also joining GB's team pursuit campaign.

Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar for second time

Mark Cavendish has won the Tour of Qatar after finishing second on the concluding fifth stage.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won his third stage of the five-day race, but Briton Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) secured the gold jersey by five seconds.

Cavendish has now won the Tour of Qatar twice. Credit: PA

A photo finish determined Kristoff had beaten Cavendish by a minute margin, but the Norwegian was runner-up to the Manxman overall - who has now won the Qatar tour twice.

The victory constituted the first general classification success of the season for Team Dimension Data, previously known as MTN-Qhubeka.

Cavendish spared a thought for team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen, who punctured on Thursday to relinquish the gold jersey.

"Obviously it's nice to be wearing gold now, but I know I am only wearing it on behalf of Edvald," Cavendish said.

"He only lost it because of bad luck and not through any other kind of cause.

"He should be the guy wearing this gold jersey but we are just super happy to keep it in Team Dimension Data."

After showing his road form at the venue for October's Road World Championships, Cavendish could now turn his attention to the track, with the Track World Championships taking place in London in early March.


Mark Cavendish claims 26th Tour de France stage win

Cavendish crossed the line ahead of Andre Greipel. Credit: ITV4

Mark Cavendish has secured his 26th Tour de France stage victory and his first at this year's Tour.

The Manx rider crossed the line ahead of Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan in today's seventh stage.

The pressure had been mounting for Cavendish after he was beaten by Greipel in a sprint finish on Sunday and Wednesday.

Cavendish wins first stage at Tour of California

Cav got the win. Credit: PA

Mark Cavendish recorded his 10th win of the season as he took the opening stage of the Tour of California in Sacramento on Sunday evening.

The Manxman's Etixx-QuickStep team-mates controlled the front of the peloton to allow Mark Renshaw to give Cavendish the perfect lead-out in the final stretch of the 203.1km stage which started and finished in the state capital.

Cavendish edged out Tinkoff-Saxo's Peter Sagan and Jean-Pierre Drucker of BMC Racing for his sixth Tour of California stage win and the first leader's jersey of this edition.

However, there was also a major withdrawal as American Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin), who was looking to get into shape for the Tour de France, pulled out with what the team said was a combination of respiratory problems and allergies.

Once a four-man breakaway had been swept up, Etixx-QuickStep, Tinkoff-Saxo, MTN-Qhubeka and BMC battled at the front of the peloton for control.

Cavendish's team moved to the front inside the final five kilometres and held position under pressure from their rivals. With Renshaw his guide, Cavendish was able to jump off his wheel and win with relative ease.

Monday's stage is on more rolling terrain as the riders tackle 193.7km from Nevada to Lodi.

Cavendish salutes young sprinter ace

Mark Cavendish signalled his admiration of young rival Fernando Gaviria after the Colombian outpaced him again to win stage three of the Tour de San Luis.

For the second time this week in Argentina, 20-year-old Gaviria had Cavendish in his slipstream as he crossed the line first, this time at the end of the 176.3 kilometres the riders raced from Concaran to Juana Koslay.

Gaviria, riding for his national team, burst clear inside the final quarter of a mile and held off second-placed Cavendish, a serial winner of sprints at the highest level in world cycling.

The beaten Briton, from the Etixx-Quick Step team, wrote on Twitter: "Well, 2nd again in @TourSanLuis to @77Gaviria. He has this phenomenal acceleration that's hard to close a gap to.. Impressive. Congrats!"


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Joanna Rowsell: Wishing Cavendish a speedy recovery

Olympic champion cyclist, Joanna Rowsell wishes Mark Cavendish a speedy recovery following news he is out of the Tour de France:

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