Cavendish "disappointed" with sacrifice
Mark Cavendish has hit out at Britain's obsession with Olympic success over victories in cycling's top events.
Cavendish last year became the first Briton to win four Tour de France stages but was also the only GB track cyclist not to win an Olympic medal.
"For me, the Olympics is not even in the top 10 of what you can achieve," he told the BBC's Inside Sport programme.
"But you ask the average member of the public in Britain and they'll look at you like you're mad."
Manx sprinter Cavendish, 23, has already recorded eight victories this year, including the prestigious Milan-San Remo, and was overall best sprinter in the Tour of California.
He will begin the Giro d'Italia on 9 May and, having won two stages last year, is expected to challenge in six this time.
Cavendish has said he will not race on the track again, although he made an appearance at the recent World Championships in Poland.
If you put the time and effort into catching [drugs] cheats you're going to catch them, and that's what cycling does
Last year he pulled out of the Tour de France early to prepare for the Olympics but was upset after missing out on a medal in the madison as partner Bradley Wiggins had already won two golds.
"This year already I've won six or seven races - if you asked a cycling enthusiast, they'd say it overshadows what the Olympics is for an endurance rider," he added.
"There's a lot of people that didn't win a medal, it's what I sacrificed to go there that hurt the most. It is quite important as a British person, not necessarily as a cyclist."
Cavendish also criticised those in the media who continue to highlight cycling's drug problem.
It was revealed last week that Olympic road race silver medallist David Rebellin had failed a doping test, which was taken in Beijing and re-tested later.
"If you put the time and effort into catching the cheats you're going to catch them, and that's what cycling does," Cavendish continued.
"I did tests 64 times last year - 64 times! Tell me anybody in other sports gets that. I have to pay 20% of all my prize money to anti-doping.
"Cycling, the governing body of cycling, the race organisers, they care more about a clean and fair sport than the image of the sport.
"This is what angers me about the press. My sport is doing everything it can and it's getting a bad name for it."