Sprinter speaks his mind before Commonwealth Games road race
Mark Cavendish has expressed his frustration over HTC-Columbia’s apparent unwillingness to offer him a new contract beyond 2011, when his current deal ends.
Speaking in Delhi, where he will represent the Isle of Man in Sunday’s Commonwealth Games road race, Cavendish contrasted the support he gets from the people around him to his relationship with the HTC-Columbia management .
“I’ve got great family, great friends, great teammates. It’s nice. People around me appreciate when it’s like that,” Cavendish said of the huge expectations that now surround him. “I’m not sure if my team does. Not my team as a whole, but the manager. I’ve not been offered a new contract yet - I don’t know why that is.”
Cavendish continued: “I’m committed to a contract I signed a few years ago, [but] there’s been no goodwill, no bonuses, nothing. I feel kind of abused for what I’ve achieved.”
Asked if he remained committed to HTC for 2011, he said: “I’m contracted to do it and I’ve been told I’m contracted to do it, so I have to do it. At the end of the day, I'm never going to stop racing because I love racing and I'm going to race with my teammates because they love to race as well.
“Fundamentally, I ride my bike because I love to ride my bike,” continued Cavendish. “But obviously [because of] the pressures, it’s a normal person’s life that I've lost. You should see the benefits coming with that, and I don't get them at the minute, and I'm a little bit disappointed at the minute with that.”
Cavendish insisted that the Commonwealth Games remain important to him, four years after he won a gold medal in the scratch race at Melbourne. He said he had no doubts about travelling to Delhi, despite reported problems in the build-up to the Games.
“We’re in India,” said Cavendish. “It’s not a Western country. “I think it's quite ignorant to assume we were going to going to be in a Western-style country. I've been to India before on holiday - I knew what it was going to be like."
“I think it's ignorant not to respect the way those countries are, it's how it is. The reason India's got the Commonwealth Games is because it's a developing country, so you can't expect it to be like going to Hong Kong or something."
“I was always committed. We’ve got a great team from the Isle of Man, a great group of people and I enjoy being with those people. I'm professional and I understand that I need a team to help me succeed, and you have to give back to that team for them to give to you."
“It doesn't matter what standard that is - whether you ride for Team Sky or whether you ride for the Isle of Man, you ride. You've got a team to work with so I'm here to ride with the guys and they'll give me 100% and I'll give them 100% and hopefully we'll do the Isle of Man proud.”