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Tour de France is 2012 preparation
12th July 2011
Source: Press Association Sport
Photo: Brailsford believes Cavendish (above) is a strong contender for gold in 2012
UK riders will ‘very possibly' use next year's Tour de France as preparation for the London 2012 Olympics, British cycling chief David Brailsford said today.
Despite coming home empty-handed from Beijing, Mark Cavendish, who this week won his 16th stage of the Tour de France, is a hot tip to win the first British gold medal at the Olympics in the men's road race.
Brailsford, British Cycling's performance director and the Team Sky manager, said: "The first medal on the first day (of the Olympics) and maybe the first winner - as far as I can see that will be the road race for men.
"We have a certain Mr Cavendish who is very strong. What is his best preparation? It would probably be to ride the Tour de France and then after that, then into London.
"It could be that we see quite a number of riders riding in France as part of the preparation for the Olympic Games."
The 2011 line-up for Team Sky, the road race team set up to try to produce a British Tour de France winner, also included three-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, until injury forced him out of this year's race, and the Olympic team pursuit gold medallist Geraint Thomas. Ben Swift is another British talent in the squad.
Brailsford believes that his work on the national squad and the Tour de France puts him in "an advantageous position" to get British talent ready for 2012.
He said: "With having a foot in both camps I do not have to argue with professional teams over someone like Geraint Thomas and try and get them to forego his participation in the Tour de France for the sake of a British ride at the Olympic Games - they would not do that normally .
"With the unique position that I hold I can decide what is the best race programme for someone like Geraint Thomas. I think I am in an advantageous position."
The 2012 Olympics is ‘100%' his priority over the Tour de France and it is supported by Sky which is backing the Tour de France team.
Brailsford said: "We have had the discussion and it is quite clear that we consider it a unique one-off home event.
"We are doing everything to ensure we are ready for the Olympic Games. If there is ever a question of prioritisation we are all prioritising London 2012."