Mark Cavendish: British sprinter third in Gent madison

Mark Cavendish

Britain's Mark Cavendish finished thirdexternal-link in Saturday's madison as he continued his return to the track at the International Belgian Open.

The 28-year-old sprinter and team-mate Owain Doull claimed 12 points on their way to a podium spot in Gent.

On Friday, Cavendish was pipped to the finishing line as he took second in the 15km scratch event.

He is racing in Belgium to give himself a chance of competing on the track at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

By riding in Gent, he has scored points that make him eligible to ride in a World Cup event. From there, he will attempt to secure a place at the World Championships and then the Olympics.

Elsewhere, Olympic track champion Joanna Rowsell enjoyed a successful comeback from a broken collarbone by winning the pursuit. Fellow Briton Katie Archibald was second.

Rowsell was expected to miss the event after undergoing surgery following a crash during the RideLondon road race last month.

"Really pleased to win the pursuit here in Gent in my first race back," the 24-year-old tweeted.external-link

Cavendish has not decided whether he will race on the track in Rio, but told Cycling Weekly:external-link "At least doing this gives me the option.

"I'm not saying I'm doing anything. I might not do anything ever again on the track. But when I found out about the rule change [meaning riders must qualify for World Cup events], I thought I better do one in case I want to do the track."

Prior to three days' training at the Manchester Velodrome this week, Cavendish had not ridden on the track in more than a year and it is the first time he has represented Britain in the discipline since the 2009 World Championships in Poland.

"The scratch was primarily a bit of a warm-up for the madison," he said.

"I felt all right. Ignoring the result, I got what I wanted out of it."

Cavendish won the world madison titles in 2005, with Rob Hayles, and 2008, with Sir Bradley Wiggins.

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