The 31-year-old has carefully balanced road and track commitments this season in a bid to make the men’s endurance squad and chase an elusive Olympic medal via the omnium.
Cavendish has tentatively said he doesn’t have a plan to leave the Tour de France early to further prepare for Rio, which immediately precedes the race. Trade Dimension Data team boss Douglas Ryder has in reports intimated he’d like the 26-time Tour stage winner to ride all the way to Paris in the 103rd edition.
Cavendish has been vocal about his ambition to add a career first Olympic medal to his CV and rounds out Team GB’s men’s endurance squad that also includes London 2012 team pursuit champions Ed Clancy and Steven Burke as well as Owain Doull and Brad Wiggins.
“I’ve made no secret that my aim is to win an Olympic medal and I’m so pleased to have been given this opportunity," he said.
"It’s always a proud moment to be able to pull on a GB jersey and to be able to do so at the Olympic Games is extra special.
"I’ve given my all to training these past few months and I’m committed to doing my absolute best out in Rio.
Cavendish opened his road season in Australia this year, making his debut at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on the back of the track World Cup in Hong Kong where he finished fourth in the omnium.
As well as the multi-discipline event, Cavendish will be fifth man in the team pursuit. Great Britain and Australia have a renowned rivalry in the team pursuit and the latter is keen to rectify its silver medal performance at London 2012.
Australia will enter Rio on the front foot after defeating Team GB on its own turf at the UCI Track World Championships in February. The result there was a reversal of the lead-up to London 2012 where GB won gold in the blue riband event at the world titles in Melbourne.
More controversy for British Cycling
The Olympic selection announced in Manchester overnight comes three days after the team was leaked to Sportsmail. The report generated another controversy for the embattled governing body, British Cycling, highlighting notable omissions including Dani King and Andy Tennant.
Returning to cycling this year after a two-year triathlon hiatus, Emma Pooley was instead selected over King. Pooley has only ridden in two races in 2016 while King has impressed all season as domestique with trade team Wiggle High5. King has said she is heartbroken.
News of the leak comes after burgeoning climber Simon Yates’s positive test for asthma drug Terbutaline was leaked to the same publication in April, which followed the furore surrounding suspended Australian technical director Shane Sutton. The long-serving Sutton stood down from his position amid claims of sexism and bullying sparked by dropped track sprinter Jess Varnish the same month.
Top brass at the governing body has previously said the turnover will not affect performances at Rio, referring to British Cycling’s coach-based structure.
British Cycling programmes director, Andy Harrison, on Friday was forward focused on what he described as a strong squad for Rio.
“Our team has proven to be the leading nation for cycling in the past two Olympic cycles and our aim is to continue that momentum and be a sports team that Britain can be proud of,” Harrison said. “We’ve seen some good results across the disciplines this season and I’ve every confidence we can step it up once more for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
No women qualified for the women's BMX or mountain biking competitions.
Great Britain squad for the Rio Olympic Games:
Men’s track: Jason Kenny, Phillip Hindes, Callum Skinner, Brad Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Owain Doull, Steven Burke, Ed Clancy.
Women’s track: Rebecca James, Katy Marchant, Laura Trott, Katie Archibald, Jo Rowsell-Shand, Elinor Barker, Ciara Horne.
Men’s road: Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Adam Yates, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard.
Women’s road: Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Pooley, Nikki Harris.
Men’s BMX: Liam Phillips, Kyle Evans.