Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) has said that he doesn’t think the recent report from the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) has brought anything new to the table. The CIRC spent a year looking into the murky history of the sport and spoke to a number of people from the past and present world of cycling but Cavendish believes much of it was already public knowledge.
“To be brutally honest, I don’t think that there is anything particularly new in there. I think that it is all the shit that’s been out there in the last few years just compiled into one document that gives people something else to talk about the past of cycling like it’s the present,” Cavendish said during a conference call following the announcement he would compete at this year’s Prudential RideLondon.
“It’s a little bit frustrating, that would be an understatement to say it’s a bit frustrating. I think modern cycling is cleaning up and I’m racing in a better playing field in the sport that I love and I’ll continue to be happy with that.”
A total of 174 people spoke to the commission throughout the year-long investigation but few of those were current professionals and no new admissions of doping came from it. Following the release of the findings on March 9, several riders and anti-doping advocates said that they had heard nothing from the CIRC. Cavendish told reporters that he hadn’t been approached by the investigation and feels that it doesn’t represent the modern peloton.
“I wasn’t asked at all and I think there’s quotes in there that I know 95 percent of the peloton know that there is one rider that will have said certain comments and the other five percent won’t know that rider and couldn’t comment on it. There’s certain comments from ‘one reliable source’ don’t mean anything,” said Cavendish. “To be honest, I don’t spend not even a small amount of time looking at the cycling press and maybe that’s where it was. I don’t know.”
Unfinished business in London
Earlier on Tuesday, it was confirmed that Cavendish would headline Prudential RideLondon this August. It will be the first time that Cavendish has competed in the event, which announced a longer route for 2015, after missing last year’s edition due to a shoulder injury he picked up at the Tour de France.
The Manx Missile won the pre-cursor to the event, the 2011 London-Surrey Classic, which was put on as a test event for the Olympic Games. He was the major favourite for the gold a year later but an escape made it away, leaving him without a medal for the second Games running. Cavendish says that he’s looking forward to racing in London again
“It’s a race that lends itself to aggressive racing, and I think with the iconic start and finish it really makes for a picturesque showpiece for the world of cycling,” Cavendish explained. “It’s always nice to race on British roads. You always get a buzz racing as a British rider. I’m proud to ride for the flag that I was born under and to ride in front of a nation that is grasping cycling and really evolving with cycling in the country.
“Obviously I’d like to win on home ground but like I said bike racing is bike racing and Etixx-QuickStep will come with a strong team and will try to win it regardless of results in the past.”
Picking himself up and a new contract
It has been two days since Cavendish suffered a mechanical problem at Milan-San Remo, effectively putting him out of contention for victory. It was the second time in a week that Cavendish’s chain came off and ruined a chance to win. At the time his frustration was evident, but he was a circumspect in his response.
“Ideally, we’d go a whole career without a mechanical problem,” he said. “In other sports that involve machines like Formula One, you can be leading the race and you can have a mechanical issue happen. As long as we work with our partners, our team and our mechanics to make sure it is rectified for the next races. Yeah it’s frustrating but you have to try and move on and try to rectify the problems.”
Cavendish will be moving onto the cobbled classics with Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. For the first time in his career, Cavendish is racing knowing that his contract will come to a close at the end of the season. Team boss Patrick Lefevere has said that he’s keen to renew the Manxman’s contract but nothing has been confirmed. However, Cavendish says that it hasn’t affected his approach to racing.
“At the end of the day, without results you can’t speculate on anything. I’ve had a strong start to the year, and if I concentrate on trying to get a contact then that’s going to affect my ability to race. I think we’ll concentrate first and foremost on winning the races and hopefully something along the lines of a contract comes from that,” he said.
“I think there’s much uncertainty that I will get a contract. I think it happens to every single bike rider in the world. It’s just the first time that I’ve been on contract year.”