I wrote yesterday afternoon my thoughts on whether or not Mark Cavendish should be part of the Team GB squad for the Rio Olympics. My conclusion was a no, with my head ruling my heart.
Since I published that article, Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins have had me in tears as they won an incredible Madison at the track worlds. The win brought back memories of their performance at the 2008 worlds, and banished the bad taste left in the mouth after their dismal display at the Beijing Olympics that same year.
Two of the greatest moments as a British fan of Cycling involve Wiggo and Cav. The first was the final stage of the 2012 Tour De France with Wiggins, wearing the yellow jersey, leading out Cav, wearing the rainbow stripes, on the Champs Elysees for his fourth consecutive final stage win. This Madison is the second of those moments. It had me crying tears of joy as I sat watching, in a style emulative of Eurosport's Carlton Kirby.
It was a beautiful finale to the track worlds, and begs the question why the Madison is no longer an Olympic event. In my mind there is no better way to conclude a track meet, the Madison is a true crowd pleaser and the best way to end any Sunday session in the Velodrome.
But the Madison is not in the Olympics. So does this change my thoughts on whether or not to select Cavendish for Rio? Nope. Not at all. It was a precious moment that I will never forget, and it underscores the pair's status on the Mount Rushmore of British Cycling. Probably alongside Tom Simpson, you can argue yourselves over who gets the final berth. However, this result does not prove that Cav is any more an asset to the endurance squad as he was before the event. It shows his attitude and commitment are there, and for me the victory should be seen as his reward for these, a tribute to his work on the track over the last year. But it does not make him any more likely to win a medal in Rio. Perhaps it suggests that he can play more of a role in the Team Pursuit but that would be at the expense of two very deserving riders in Jonathan Dibben and Steven Burke.
If Burke is unable to recover his form then by all means Team GB should keep the door open for Cavendish. We also have no way of knowing what testing the team are doing behind closed doors. Cav's numbers may be outstanding and force Shane Sutton to include him for all I know. But based purely on these championships, we should just celebrate an incredible afternoon on the boards and leave it at that. Thanks for everything Cav, now get yourself back on the road.