• Mark Cavendish during the individual time-trial of the 2016 Tour of Qatar (Getty)
Rio Olympics track hopeful Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is not totally convinced he’s made a swift and successful transition from the velodrome to road despite winning the Tour of Qatar on Friday.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
13 Feb 2016 - 9:46 AM  UPDATED 15 Feb 2016 - 8:23 AM

The 30-year-old claimed one stage and the overall suggesting he found his road legs after a European winter focused on track training. However, Cavendish was modest in reappraisal before the fifth and final stage of the race he placed second in a photo finish to Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).

“I’ve got to be realistic, it’s flat [at the Tour of Qatar] and there’s nothing really over 200km,” Cavendish said.

“I got a good block in with Dubai [Tour] and here, and was quite powerful. At the end of the day if I was probably riding on the front for someone it would be a bit different to getting sheltered by the guys.

“I’ve definitely got a lot of power but not doing anything over 200km I don’t know how the endurance is."

Tour of Qatar sprint kings in final photo finish
The final stage of the Tour of Qatar came down to a photo finish with what looked like only a few PSI in it.

Cavendish finished fourth in the omnium at the Hong Track World Cup last month after which he travelled to Australia for his road season opener at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race carrying track muscle.

The managed shift in focus between the two disciplines may animate the first half of the Manxman’s season as he looks to Rio and a spot in the Great Britain track endurance squad. Cavendish said the transition is difficult and the timing of it last month was not ideal.

The 26-time Tour de France stage winner clocked significantly fewer miles on the road during the off-season, however, there were aspects of training that he said were beneficial to both endeavours.

“I probably did half the hours altogether but also track training is massively intense so although I was doing less hours there was a lot of intensity there. I did a lot of gym work, which I haven’t done previously, which I think I’ll benefit from as well,” he said.

“We had a schedule from [endurance coach] Heiko Salzwedel at GB and I was just adding my road rides to that whenever I could. I was going back to the Isle of Man every weekend and just getting good rides in with the groups there.”

Cavendish is yet to confirm if he will revert his focus back to the velodrome for the UCI Track World Championships in London later this month, or progress with his road season. He said he didn’t know if he would have to make up for the road miles he has missed in the immediate future.

“Once I start doing races over 200km then I have to see there if it’s any different,” he said.

Cavendish has well-documented ambitions this season including a berth at the Rio Olympic Games, further success at the Tour de France with new team Dimension Data and the UCI Road World Championships, the course for which he and Dimension Data team-mate Mark Renshaw partly saw here in Doha this week.

Renshaw predicts a technical and tactical world championships
Mark Renshaw has likened the course for the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha to a criterium after racing over part of it at the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday.