Mark Cavendish: ‘I lost gold rather than won silver’

Manxman unable to hide frustration after Doha 2016 near-miss

Mark Cavendish could not hide his disappointment after being beaten to World Championship gold and the rainbow jersey by reigning champion Peter Sagan in Doha.

Cavendish found himself well placed in the finale, having made the front group of 26 riders when crosswinds split the peloton in the Qatari desert.

But the Manxman was left ruing what he admitted had been a tactical mistake as he missed out on the chance to add the 2016 road world title to his Madison rainbow jersey on the track, won alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins earlier this year.

“I feel I lost gold rather than won silver,” Cavendish confessed. “Tactically, I made a mistake. I wanted to be on the wheel of Sagan, and ultimately I was, but then all of a sudden the road was blocked.

“I was trying to find a way through and at around 100m [to go] I had to stop pedalling to go around Michael Matthews.

“I got back onto Tom Boonen but it was too late, I couldn’t get back onto Sagan.”

Cavendish had outlined three ambitious major targets for the season at the start of the year: the Tour de France yellow jersey, an Olympic medal and victory in Doha.

He achieved the first when he won the first stage of this year’s Tour – one of four stage victories in all – before switching to the track and ticking off target number two in Rio, when he won omnium silver.

And Cavendish looked well set for target number three when he made the front split in Qatar, with team-mates Adam Blythe and Luke Rowe for company.

Mark Cavendish can’t hide his frustration after Peter Sagan pipped him to the rainbow jersey in Doha (pic: Alex Whitehead/

A puncture for Rowe meant it was only Blythe and Cavendish left for Great Britain in the finale, but it was not to be for the Manx Missile.

And after missing out in the final sprint in Doha, Cavendish admitted this time a silver medal was scant consolation.

“It’s difficult to take any positives out of today,” he concluded. “We did all we could.

“It was tough losing Luke Rowe to a puncture because then we would have had three in front which would have been valuable in the final, but that’s how it is.”


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