March 24, 2015 / 4:59 PM / 3 years ago

Cavendish says Olympic ambitions would harm career

LONDON (Reuters) - Briton Mark Cavendish has ruled out trying to add an Olympic medal to his long list of honors, saying it would be “detrimental” to his career.

Mark Cavendish (R) of Britain autographs a cow skull for fan David Boyle of Lancaster, California at the starting line of the sixth stage of the Tour of California cycling race in Palmdale, California May 21, 2010. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante

Winner of 25 Tour de France stages and the world road title in 2011, the Isle of Man rider has begun the road season in fine style, winning the Tour of Dubai for his Etixx-Quick Step team.

His focus is now on this year’s Tour de France and trying to move past French great Bernard Hinault into second place on the all-time list of stage victories.

The Olympics, he says, is a nice idea but not on his list of priorities, especially as the hilly road course in Rio de Janeiro would not suit him and a switch to one of the track disciplines would not be practical.

“If I was going to ride the track I would hope that it would compliment my road job,” the 29-year-old said in a conference call to announce his participation in this year’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic in August.

”I’ve never ever had any intention to leave the road for the track. Someone like Bradley (Wiggins) can do it at the end of his career but when you’re in the middle of a road career there is no career on the track.

“A career in cycling is on the road.”

This year’s RideLondon classic, a 200km route from central London to the hills of Surrey and back, will revive bitter memories of the 2012 London Olympics road race when hot-favorite Cavendish failed to win a medal.

That disappointment does not appear to weigh on his mind.

”As a British rider yeah (it would be nice to medal), but in the world of cycling the Olympics doesn’t mean anything.

“It would be nice to do it from a personal, patriotic point of view but from a career point of view it would be quite detrimental to stop road riding and concentrate on the track.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Justin Palmer

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