Mark Cavendish has described his move to Omega Pharma-Quick Step as like a new start to his career after a frustrating year at Team Sky.
Cavendish has largely avoided revealing details about his split with the British team, happy to scoop up consecutive stage victories for Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the Tour of Qatar and enjoy 2013, than look back to the problems of 2012. However he opened up during an interview with Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
Cavendish confirmed that he realised he had to leave Team Sky after the team management decided to sacrifice Cavendish's hopes of winning the green jersey and winning stages in the final part of the Tour to focus solely on defending Bradley Wiggins' yellow jersey. At the start of 2012, Team Sky had talked about going for both the yellow and green jerseys at the Tour de France, but that changed in the final week of the race.
"It was the most difficult Tour of my career. I was wearing the rainbow jersey and had the form of my life but I won my least number of stages. It was frustrating," Gazzetta report Cavendish as saying.
"I never complained about that (going for yellow with Wiggins), it's the biggest goal in cycling. I didn’t want a team exclusively for me, otherwise I wouldn't have gone to Sky. But I knew they wanted to go to the Tour to win the green points jersey too. And I wanted to be part of that. But when we got there, I realised things were different. If things had been made clear before I signed, I'd probably have gone to a different team."
Cavendish seems to enjoy the laid back mentality at Omega-Pharma-Quick Step much more than the drilled and disciplined corporate mentality at Team Sky. His early season success at the Tour of San Luis and the Tour of Qatar have helped him gel with his new teammates.
Cavendish admitted he is enjoying his racing much more, revealing that he his enthusiasm and love for cycling had drained away while at Team Sky.
"I love this team. I was a bit nervous about changing teams but that passed immediately," he said. "Peta, my partner said: 'It's great to hear that you're enjoying cycling again. For a year it'd had become just a job. There was so much pressure. Now you just need to get on your bike to start enjoying yourself.'"
"There's a great atmosphere in the team. It's difficult not to be happy when you're surrounded by Belgians: they’re always smiling and happy. This group also won a lot in 2012, from the cobbles to the team time trial world title. They missed out on stages in the Grand Tours but together we can be the most dominant group in the world."
Gazzetta dello Sport asked Cavendish if Bradley Wiggins can win the Giro d'Italia. But Cavendish claimed he is only focused on his own career and his fresh start with Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
"I'm not interested in what Sky does now or what they'll do in the races. I'm only thinking about Omega-Quick Step and winning as much as possible. I've never been so enthusiastic at the start of a new season. It feels like I'm starting a new career."