Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) has admitted that he was in the wrong for the crash in the men's omnium points race that saw Sanghoon Park (South Korea) stretchered out of the velodrome, but refuted assertions that the move was deliberate.
By
Cycling Central

18 Aug 2016 - 8:02 AM 

On the replayed footage of the incident, Cavendish appeared to look back before swerving back down the banking and taking out the front wheel of Sanghoon Park.

The South Korean rider might have had a chance to avoid the crash on a road bike, but on track bikes without brakes, his options were very limited and he hit the deck.

The Manxman went on to win the silver medal behind Elia Viviani (Italy), who also fell in the crash but emerged without injury and was able to hang onto gold.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s sad that people think I’d do something on purpose. It was my fault, the crash. I messaged with Sanghoon this morning and I spoke to his coach last night, he’s alright,” Cavendish told Sky Sports.

"But I felt terrible, I really, really did. It’s my fault, but it’s not malicious. It’s not on purpose, you know what I mean? To even insinuate that, it’s not very fair. I’m just sorry that I’ve caused him some pain.”

“It’s been blown out of proportion. At the end of the day, it was probably a slow news day and clickbait’s going to do clickbait,” Cavendish said. “But it’s all fine.”

Cavendish started the points race in second position and had hoped to leapfrog Viviani into first, but it proved too hard to take a lap on the field for the Manxman and he had to settle for protecting his silver medal against Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark).

“I had a bad elimination race on the first day which is usually my strongest event," said Cavendish," but having said that I was second in pursuit which is usually my weakest event, so it was swings and roundabouts I guess.

"I knew it would be hard behind Elia because he’s a defensive rider so he always rides good from that top spot.

“I learned after a while I wasn’t able to get laps, people didn’t want to get laps with me, so I had to go in the sprints.”

Cavendish also spoke on his dislike for the omnium event format, an event that he always viewed as a necessary evil for him to get a medal, rather than a beloved discipline.

“That omnium, I’ve said it before, it’s a silly event. We used to have four medal opportunities for endurance males plus there was the kilo for the sprinters."

"Then they cut down on all the events in track cycling and bundled those events into one medal, so we’ve got to do everything that everyone else used to do. But it’s nice to have worked on everything and got a medal out of it.”

Cavendish didn't comment on whether he would be tempted to return to the track for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, when he will be 35.

“I’m racing on Sunday. I’ve got to go back to the day job at the weekend,” he said, referencing a probable start at the Hamburg Cycle Classic which is normally won by a sprinter.