Cavendish gets Olympic medal shot in Rio

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 24, 2016 10:20 AM

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Mark Cavendish will get the chance to claim a long-awaited Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro this year after being named in Britain's track cycling team on Friday.

The 30-year-old, the most prolific road sprinter of his generation with 26 Tour de France stage wins, will take part in the multi-discipline omnium event in the Rio velodrome.

Cavendish, who will ride he Tour de France for Team Dimension Data, missed out on a road race medal at the London 2012 Olympics and in the Madison in Beijing eight years ago when partnering Bradley Wiggins.

Olympic road time trial champion Wiggins, 35, returns to his track roots in a bid for an eighth Olympic medal and fifth gold and he will be a key part of the team pursuit squad.

Chris Froome, favorite for a third Tour de France yellow jersey next month, will spearhead Britain's road challenge.

World road champion Lizzie Armitstead leads the women's squad with Beijing 2008 time trial silver medalist Emma Pooley.

Britain dominated the London 2012 cycling events, winning nine medals, including seven golds, on the track and three on the road including Wiggins' time trial victory just a few weeks after he had won the Tour de France.

Preparations were rocked this year, however, when team chief Shane Sutton resigned following allegations of sexism and discriminatory remarks about Paralympic cyclists.

An investigation is ongoing.

Cavendish's place in the team was in doubt when he failed to gain a podium place in the omnium at the world track championships in London in March - the target he had been set by Sutton.

He could only finish sixth, although he did team up with Wiggins to win the Madison gold in London -- an event that is no longer part of the Olympic program.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)