Mark Cavendish Wins Silver Medal In Track Cycling Omnium At Rio Olympics

Coveted first medal for cycling great.
Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Article originally published 15/08/2016: due to a technical issue this article may have resurfaced for some readers, and the original publish date may not have been visible.

Mark Cavendish has won his much-coveted Olympic medal, bagging a silver in the track cycling omnium.

The cyclist, who has won more stages of the Tour de France than any other Brit, had long hankered for Olympic silverware after missing out during more than a decade of British dominance on the road and track.

Cavendish finally broke the streak during a dramatic night at the Velodrome, which at one stage saw him wipe out his main contender for gold.

The multi-discipline event ended with an 160 lap series of sprints that appeared to confuse many Brits watching the Rio event at home.

Mercifully, TV’s Richard Osman was on hand to explain.

The medal came in controversial circumstances as ‘Cav’ was involved in a crash that halted the race, and temporarily knocked leader - and eventual champion - Elia Viviani to the floor, when he rode into another rival.

Park Sang-hoon of South Korea, right, falls near Mark Cavendish of Britain, left, during the men's cycling omnium points race.
Park Sang-hoon of South Korea, right, falls near Mark Cavendish of Britain, left, during the men's cycling omnium points race.
Pavel Golovkin/AP

The mid-race crash appeared to be of Cavendish’s own making and he may yet face a protest from rivals or a sanction from race officials which could deny him the podium spot.

Viviani finished with 207 points, Cavendish with 194 and defending champion Lasse Norman Hansen of Denmark Hansen with 192. World champion Fernando Gaviria of Colombia was fourth on 181 points.

The omnium is unpredictable and the concluding points race – a format change since London 2012, when the time-trial was last – means the podium can change right until the very last. That reshuffle tempted Cavendish to return to the velodrome.

Cavendish was ninth in the Madison with Sir Bradley Wiggins at the 2008 Games in Beijing, suffering the ignominy of being the only member of the track team not to win a medal.

He has achieved two of his 2016 goals – the Tour’s yellow jersey and an Olympic medal – and now will turn his attentions to the third, a second road race world title in Qatar in October.

Britain now have four golds and three silvers from six events entered after five days of action in the velodrome. Britain did not qualify for the seventh, the women’s team sprint.

Three events take place on Tuesday’s final day in the velodrome, with the potential for more success in the women’s omnium, through Laura Trott, the men’s Keirin, which features Jason Kenny and Callum Skinner, and the women’s sprint, with Becky James and Katy Marchant in the quarter-finals.

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