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Renshaw: I wanted to be more successful as a sprinter

Daniel Benson
April 9, 2013, 21:30,
April 9, 2013, 22:28
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Mark Renshaw (Blanco) in his second season as a designated sprinter

Mark Renshaw (Blanco) in his second season as a designated sprinter

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Could the Australian return to lead-outs with Cavendish?

At 30 years of age and with the final year of his contract with Blanco underway this is the most important year of Mark Renshaw’s career so far.

The sprinter-come-lead-out man stepped out of Mark Cavendish’s shadow in 2012 in a bid to leave his old lead-out duties behind him and concentrate on his own successes in the sprints.

The move has had mixed results: two wins since but a congestion of top-five placings all over Europe. According to Renshaw one reason for the limited number of wins has been the fact he’s continued to provide lead-outs, mainly for Blanco’s other sprinter, Theo Bos.

“When I came to the team I hoped to have more help in the sprints but Theo gets my service services when we race together so I’ve done a lot of leading-out. The big decision is whether I keep going as a sprinter or go back to leading-out,” Renshaw told Cyclingnews.

The biggest question surrounding Renshaw’s future appears to be whether he will seek a home - and he’s certainly not ruling out re-signing with Blanco – that needs either his sprinting or lead-out legs.

“I’ve got options on both sides of the fence. To be honest I wanted to be more successful as a sprinter but I should have known how hard it is to be successful having been on a team with Cavendish, Goss and Greipel. I know exactly what it takes to win and how teams can help.

“The last race I had was Scheldeprijs and I set Theo [Bos] up for that. The team wanted me to ride for him there and he had really good position but he just didn’t have the legs to finish on the podium.”

“The team obviously likes Theo because he’s Dutch. They give him all the resources at a race like Scheldeprijs but they take all the sprinters and the lead-out riders there for him. The times when I get the chance to sprint are races likes Paris-Nice and down in Spain where I don’t have a lead-out train. When it’s his chance he gets myself, Brown, Wagner, quite a lot of resources.”

Renshaw acknowledges that Bos has proved himself as a sprinter, winning the world track championships in the discipline before concentrating on the road. However, he maintains that he can win races that provide more testing terrain, and admits that if he is to stake a claim to more support then he will need to produce better results.

“I always tend to do the bigger races which of course are harder to win because the bigger riders are there but in saying that I get my fair chance and this year I’ve had second and thirds and at the end of the day I need to put the runs on the board. But it’s quite hard when you don’t have three or four riders.

“I’m happy with how my season started at the Tour Down Under and then I went off to Spain and had a few races there. I won in Almeria which was a nice race to win. They don’t expect much from me in the Classics, though, and I can’t really handle the cold like some of the European guys.”

Blanco is currently in the midst of a sponsorship search after Rabobank pulled the plug on their seventeen-year investment last season. The Dutch bank agreed to finance the squad for 2013 but with their naming rights stripped. The current mood in the Blanco camp is positive, and that a new suitor will be recruited before the Tour.

“This is my last year of my current deal with Blanco and we’re in phase now when we have to see what direction the team goes and how finding a sponsor is shaping up. I know they’re talking to a lot of parties but there’s a lot of interest with what I’m going to do for the next few years.”

If Renshaw does decide to dedicate himself to lead-outs away from Blanco the obvious move would see him unite with Mark Cavendish at Omega Pharma-QuickStep. The pair forged a lethal partnership at Highroad and were virtually unstoppable as a double act. Whereas Highroad was a well-drilled unit from rider one to nine, Omega Pharma has lacked cohesion and organisation in this year’s sprints.

“There are a lot of options with a lot of big sprinters looking for good lead-out men. So it’s going to be a hard decision and on the other side of the coin I’d still like to chase my own success.”

Asked if he could consider riding with Cavendish again, Renshaw replied: “We get on quite well. We had a good past and I like his character. He’s a great teammate. You never know what can happen. Last year he kept mentioning to me ‘you’re a good lead-out man’ and a few tongue in cheek comments but we’ll speak I’m sure in the near future.

“Of course staying at Blanco, that’s another good option. Within the team I have a good role and they may want me to be more of a leader.”

Todd Wilson More than 1 year ago
I say, go for your own wins. At the end of the day you don't want to say, could of, should of.
miwi77777 More than 1 year ago
sounds like he's already saying could of, should of... and unlike greipel he hasn't proven he can win. robbie mc kewen never had anyone and still managed to get wins.
Scott Miner More than 1 year ago
I hope he goes back to what he does best. The only reason we know who he is because he was the best lead out man leading out the best sprinter in the world.
lastplacerider More than 1 year ago
I like Renshaw, especially his head-butting. I don't think he is one of the top 15-20 sprinters. Now that he is 30 and possibly past his sprinting prime it just may be time to do something that will ensure his longevity in the sport. That would be as a lead out man. It sounds like he is being honest with himself and his abilities. if he wants the wins he may have to drop down to a second level team.
Wilba60 More than 1 year ago
Wish you had of asked the burning Australian question....would he go to Greenedge and provide a lead out for Goss. This would seem like a great pairing for OGE and for Aussie cycling. OGE are pretty good at giving all of the support guys their own chances to ride for a win or get in a breakaway, so he could do quite well there. The question though is how are his relationships with the people who matter at OGE and the other OGE riders?
WillieTheWaiter More than 1 year ago
maybe Garmin could axe the worlds most overrated sprinter Farrar and see what they can do with Renshaw. At least give it another year trying to get his own victories - plenty of time to be leadout guy - look at Julz Dean for example
lakat47 More than 1 year ago
I agree about Farrar but I would also include most of the other name Garmin riders in the overrated category. I am not fond of the organization and would not like to see Renshaw ride there. I think there is bad blood between this team and the defunct HTC team. Ever since Garmin dissed the great George Hincapie in his last bid for a yellow jersey (for a day) I have no use for them.
cosmic_osmo More than 1 year ago
what, aside from his drug intake, is "great" about george hincapie? hes great at not winning races.
fujisst More than 1 year ago
There's no "I" in team, Mark.
Chemainiac More than 1 year ago signed with a dutch team....what did you think would happen. Sign with Orica......
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
I like Renshaw, especially his attitude during the leadouts. I thought as a sprinter he would win many races, but it seems that the 'pure sprinters' just have a turn of speed over those 250 m that a lead out man does not have, winning and being off the podium can be so close in these sprints. I think by now he knows what is his niche or strength is so good luck to him in his choice, but I do miss seeing him lead Cav to the finish, those were great days