Cavendish: I was beaten by worthy champions
Reflecting on a successful year on both track and road, Mark Cavendish has reconciled missing out on gold in both the Olympic omnium and world road championship, two of his key goals for 2016.
Despite being edged out by Peter Sagan and Elia Viviani in Doha and Rio respectively, the Manxman can reflect on a year in which he became world Madison champion for the second time, wore the Tour de France's yellow jersey for the first time, won four stages of the race and moved second in the all-time winner's list.
Cavendish, ever the champion, slammed his bike on the ground as he crossed the finish line in Sagan's wake on Sunday, and admitted that missing gold in both the road race and Olympic omnium had left him disappointed.
"At least one gold medal would have been nice between the Olympics and Worlds, but in the end I was beaten by worthy champions," said the 31-year-old.
"Elia Viviani is the best omnium rider in the world, and Peter Sagan is Peter Sagan. You can't complain about who I was beaten by. Definitely Worlds was quite close.
"I feel sick - not sick, but some disappointment when I see the jersey. I was that close in what is probably my last chance of winning it. It's bike riding. It's not like I lost to anyone else."
But despite missing out on gold, the 2011 road world champion said he can still be satisfied with a first ever Olympic medal, and a place on an all-star podium in Doha.
"I could have ended up with nothing since I set some big objectives like that," he added.
"I approached it with a strategy. I didn't have pressure going into every race to win. I had targets and I could build up how I wanted to and go for them.
"I can be satisfied, but I like to win everything. It's never going to be 100%, unless I won everything - even if I did I would still probably find fault with it.
"I'm loving my riding, and my team Dimension Data and Qhubeka, what the team is about. It's really put more meaning into my riding."
Cavendish also won stages in the 2016 Tour of Qatar, Tour of California and Tour of Croatia, and hopes to achieve further success at next year's Tour de France.
The route for the event was announced on Tuesday, with its mountainous nature capturing the headlines, but Cavendish thinks it will still offer up enough chances for sprinters to shine.
"It's either mountainous or sprints, which is kind of how it used to be," he concluded. "It definitely gives not just myself but the whole team some opportunities throughout the 21 days."