Mark Cavendish to make track return after GB selection

Sir Bradley Wiggins, left, and Mark Cavendish, right, have been named in the Great Britain team for next month's Track World Championships in London

Mark Cavendish is due to ride his first Track World Championships in seven years next month after being included in the Great Britain team for the London event.

The 30-year-old Manxman is to ride the six-discipline omnium in which he is targeting a place at the Rio Olympics.

Cavendish, 26 times a Tour de France stage winner, will also partner Sir Bradley Wiggins in the two-man Madison, British Cycling announced on Tuesday.

The pair won the event at the 2008 Track World Championships in Manchester, but finished ninth at the Olympics in Beijing later that year.

Cavendish suffered the ignominy of being the only member of the British track team in Beijing to finish without a medal and vowed never to return to the velodrome, having ended his Tour de France participation early to travel to China.

Yet the following March he took part in the 2009 Track World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland - his most recent global championships across the boards until now. The London event takes place from March 2 to 6 at the Lee Valley VeloPark.

It was while watching the Olympic track programme at the 2012 Games, after Cavendish had placed 29th in the road race, that the seeds were sown for Rio.

Cavendish declared then his desire to return to the track to bid for the Olympic medal which has proved elusive.

Olympic success could be part of a memorable 2016 for Cavendish, as he also targets the Tour de France yellow jersey for the first time and the World Championships road race title in October.

Wiggins, after becoming the first British winner of the Tour de France before adding Olympic time-trial gold, also expressed his wish to return to the velodrome during London 2012.

The 35-year-old's main focus is the four-man, four-kilometres team pursuit as he gears up for his bid for a fifth Olympic gold and British record eighth medal in all. He returns to the venue where he set the UCI Hour Record last June.

The pair's participation in London is a big boost for a track team still struggling to fill the void of the post-2012 departures of Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.

Britain last year in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines failed to win a Track World Championships gold medal for the first time since 2001.

Ed Clancy won omnium bronze at London 2012, but is recovering from a back injury, giving Cavendish the opportunity to take the British place in track cycling's equivalent of the decathlon.

Clancy, twice a team pursuit Olympic champion, has been included in a squad of 21 riders, along with fellow London 2012 gold medallists Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Steven Burke, Jason Kenny and Phil Hindes. Former world champion Katie Archibald is included following injury, too.

Becky James, who won two world titles in 2013 before being beset by illness and injury, leads the women's sprint group.

Emily Nelson and Chris Latham have been named in their first Track World Championships squad.

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton said: "We've selected the strongest squad available to us for these worlds - we're in good shape and the team we've selected is close to the Olympic model.

"Winning is always a key objective for any sports team and we're sticking to our long-term goal which is success at the Olympic Games in Rio so we'll be making performance decisions based on this strategy.

"That said, there's been a marked increase in momentum within the squad recently and we've been seeing some promising numbers in training, so I'm expecting to see some strong performances across the board and spectators will be guaranteed to see some world-class competition."

:: Great Britain team for the UCI Track World Championships, London (March 2 to 6):

Women's sprint: Becky James, Katy Marchant, Jess Varnish.

Men's sprint: Matt Crampton, Phil Hindes, Jason Kenny, Callum Skinner

Women's endurance: Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker, Ciara Horne, Emily Nelson, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Laura Trott

Men's endurance: Steven Burke, Mark Cavendish, Ed Clancy, Jon Dibben, Owain Doull, Chris Latham, Andy Tennant, Sir Bradley Wiggins.

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