Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Jan 8, 2015 – Britain’s Mark Cavendish revealed on Thursday that he is unlikely to race at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Cavendish, who has amassed 25 Tour de France stage wins in his career, believes his obligations with the Etixx-Quick-Step road racing team will prevent him from being in the shape required to qualify for Britain’s team.
“It’s not 100 percent I’m not doing the Olympics, but it’s difficult,” he told BBC Sport. “It probably won’t happen, if I’m honest. I’ve got a road job.”
Cavendish, who is entering the final year of his contract with the Belgian team he joined from Team Sky in 2013, has long said his commitment to his employers had to come before his ambitions of winning a first Olympic medal. Adding to his uncertainty over Rio is his recognition that the road race course may not suit a sprinter, given that it includes three laps over a lengthy climb as well as a cobblestone section, while he does not have the time to dedicate to track cycling.
“The (course for the) road race doesn’t suit me,” Cavendish said. “The time trial, well, I’m not a time trialist. And as for the track, the UCI has segregated track and road cycling completely. As a British athlete I want to do the Olympics but it’s hard. I can’t do it on the road, can’t do it in the time trial and on the track there’s just no way to qualify without quitting the road.”