Peter Sagan beat Mark Cavendish to the line to win the men’s road race at the cycling world championships in Doha on Sunday.
Mark Cavendish will compete in the 2016 Tour of Britain in September in his first appearance since winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics.
It was third time lucky, then, for the endlessly compelling contradiction that is Mark Cavendish. Following two epic days of competition in only his third ever international class omnium, the Isle of Man cyclist finally had the Olympic medal he craved around his neck after bitter disappointment in Beijing and London.
After a few days of reports chronicling his conspicuous non-appearances at the velodrome, there were sarcastic sighs of relief when Cavendish finally turned up.
Mark Cavendish pulled out of the Tour de France during the rest day on Tuesday, returning to the UK in order to save his strength for his next challenge, the omnium and possibly the team pursuit at the Rio Olympic Games.
Given that all Chris Froome’s stage wins in the Tour de France prior to this year had come either in uphill finishes or time trials, there were grounds for claiming that the double Tour de France winner was a cyclist with a relatively limited register based on sheer power on mountain tops and against the watch.
Mark Cavendish has his sights on Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 career stage wins in the Tour de France after landing his third stage win in six days here, lifting his victory tally to 29 stages, one clear of the five-times overall winner Bernard Hinault.
It is an old cycling saw that the rainbow jersey of world road race champion carries a curse which condemns its wearers to mediocrity or misfortune in the season after they win the gold medal.
Between the Tour de France and the Rio Olympics, Mark Cavendish faces a packed summer, but he has got off to the perfect start.