Mark Cavendish will have to leave the Tour de France early to ride at Rio 2016

Mark Cavendish will have to leave the Tour de France early if he is to realise his dream of becoming Olympic Champion.

Mark Cavendish will have to leave the Tour de France early to ride at Rio 2016
Cavendish will have to leave the Tour early according to Sutton / Sky Sports

After a fairly disappointing Track World Championship, Mark Cavendish faces an uphill battle to make sure he is selected by the GB panel for Rio 2016.

The Dimension Data rider finished sixth in the Omnium but, riding with Sir Bradley Wiggins, he won the Madison gold after a storming finish, which offers a glimmer of hope for Cavendish.

But Team GB’s director, Shane Sutton, knows that if he selects Cavendish for the Omnium he will become GB’s fifth team pursuiter in the process.

Cavendish ‘won’t do three weeks of the Tour, if he wants medals’ says Sutton

At the beginning of the season, the Manxman set himself an ambitious target of taking the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France, winning a gold at Rio and then winning the World Road Race in October. However, it looks as though, at the moment, that it might be a stretch too far.

“For sure, he will be at the Tour – 100 per cent. [But] Cav won’t do three weeks of the Tour. If he wants to medal, he’s well aware that he probably wouldn’t be going to Paris,” said Sutton speaking to Cycling Weekly.

Because of Cavendish's road commitments, it always looked a tough bet for him to get to Rio but Sutton said he and Cavendish will have to Dimension Data’s manager Brian Smith to see if they could come to an arrangement.

Winning the Madison eight years after, he and Wiggins won it the first time together was a watershed moment at the Championships. However, if the winner of 26 Tour de France stages wants to be considered for the Omnium it means he will also be the fifth man in the team pursuit, which GB will be looking for a gold in.

“I have total confidence that Cav can do the job in TP. I have always believed that. I don’t think that comes into question for me,” continued Sutton.

There is no doubting Cavendish will have to work hard if he is to make the Rio Olympics but Sutton believes he can do it and perform well in the process.

“I believe Cav is, from years and years ago, a very good little TPer and, when he’s on form, I’m sure he can pull his weight. I haven’t got any problems in that area at all,” admitted Sutton.