Olympic24: Cavendish drops back as Farah reveals plans

Olympic24: Cavendish drops back as Farah reveals plans

11 February 2016 / 07:50

Mark Cavendish has it all to do in Qatar while Mo Farah has finalised some of his plans ahead of Rio 2016. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours:

  • Cavendish drops to second overall in Tour of Qatar
  • Farah plans to run in Birmingham
  • Anna Watkins gives up on Olympic dream
  • Beth Tweddle takes first steps after accident
  • George Johnston chosen as flagbearer in Lillehammer

Cavendish not worried after falling to second spot

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish is not pressing the panic button despite losing the leader's jersey at the Tour of Qatar to teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen.

Winner of the race in 2013, Cavendish had been leading the field by five seconds after the first two stages.

However, he lost ground on the third as he could only manage to record the seventh-fastest time in Wednesday's time trial.

Norway's Boasson Hagen finished in 13:26.98 minutes to take the stage win by 25 seconds while Cavendish was 44 seconds down.

It leaves the Manx Missile second in the overall standings, 26 seconds behind Dimension Data teammate Boasson Hagen with two stages left, although Cavendish was looking at the bigger picture of a general classification win for the team.

"I was brought up in the UK riding ten miles," said Cavendish of Wednesday's time trial.

"It's something I've done since I was 12 years old. Normally in another race I would use it as a rest day, but I had the gold jersey.

"As long as we win the general classification it doesn't matter."

Farah confirmed for Birmingham outing

Mo Farah

Mo Farah admits he can't wait to feed off the support of the British public once more, after confirming his participation at June's Birmingham Diamond League.

The double Olympic champion will be one of a number of well-known faces competing at the Alexander Stadium on Sunday June 5.

The competition will also mark exactly two months to go until the Olympic Games in Rio, where Farah will be aiming to defend the 5000m and 10,000m titles he won at London 2012.

"The Birmingham Diamond League will be my first big European track race of 2016 and a great platform to test myself on the road to the Olympic Games in Rio – the ultimate competition for every athlete," he told British Athletics.

"The meet has long been a key fixture in the season and I know that having the support of that passionate home crowd will be a great motivator for me on the day and going into the Games.

"The British Diamond League meetings always deliver high quality competition and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Watkins gives up on Rio dream


She may have opted to step away from her Rio dream but London 2012 Olympic rowing champion Anna Watkins admitted she would have always been left wondering if she had not at least tried.

Watkins returned to rowing training in August 2015 five months after having her second baby with a view of trying to make the team for Rio.

A double sculls bronze medallist at Beijing 2008, the 32-year-old upgraded that to gold four years later in London alongside Katherine Grainger before taking time off for the birth of her two children.

And while returning to training with the GB Rowing Team squad, she has now made the difficult decision to step away from those building towards Rio after recent test results left her feeling she had not reached a good enough level.

“I am very sad it hasn’t worked out and this is not a decision that I’ve taken lightly,” Watkins told British Rowing.

“I’ve had great support from everyone involved with the GB Rowing Team as well as the wider rowing community, my family and friends.

“I guess I would have always wondered about what might have been if I hadn’t given it a go.

“Rowing has been such a big part of my life and I am sure that I will remain involved in some way. I am just taking some time to think this over but I’ll continue to support my teammates in whatever way I can.”

Tweddle takes first steps following surgery


Olympic bronze medallist Beth Tweddle has taken her first steps since having surgery on her neck.

Retired gymnast Tweddle underwent an operation to fuse together two fractured vertebrae after she was injured while training in Austria for winter sports TV programme 'The Jump'.

Although a timescale for her recovery has not been set, her parents Ann and Jerry revealed that progress was being made.

"Since her surgery, Beth has managed to walk a few steps whilst being assisted by the nursing team," the statement read.

"She is still very tired from the operation but the medical team are pleased with the progress she is making.

"At the moment we aren't certain of the timescale for her recovery. We are taking each day as it comes and will update you when there is further news.

"The medical staff here in Austria have been fantastic, they have been so helpful, patient and incredibly attentive. We cannot thank them enough for what they’ve done for our daughter."

Johnston to be flagbearer in Lillehammer

Bobsleigh pilot George Johnston will enter Friday’s Opening Ceremony of the Lillehammer 2016 Youth Olympic Games as Team GB’s Flagbearer after a vote by his fellow athletes.

Johnston, who qualified for Lillehammer 2016 as number one in the world in the men’s monobob event, will parade the union flag around the Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena and represent Team GB’s 16-strong athlete delegation.

The 17-year-old from Taunton will have to wait until next Saturday to bid for a medal at the Lillehammer Olympic Sliding Centre but Johnston was delighted to begin his Games with the honour of being voted as Flagbearer.

Johnston said: “I’m overwhelmed by the news and feel incredibly proud that I’ll be the one who gets to carry the flag into the Opening Ceremony. The fact that it was voted for by the other athletes makes it extra special.

“I don’t compete until right until the very end of the Games so to have this moment at the beginning is fantastic.

“It’s been great meeting the other athletes from different sports who are part of Team GB and everyone is here to do their best, perform and enjoy themselves so it’s a really good atmosphere around the team too.”

Sportsbeat 2016