Mark Cavendish has posted the first complete image of himself in Deceuninck-QuickStep team kit. The British rider became an official rider on the team on January 1 after just one season with Bahrain McLaren.
The 35-year-old spent three full seasons at Patrick Lefevere's team between 2013 and 2015 and enjoyed glittering success on the team before moving to Dimension Data in 2016.
The former world road champion endured a difficult 2020 and has not won a race since the very start of 2018. He has overcome a career-threatening virus in the last few years but has struggled to regain his best form. Last season he linked up with Rod Ellingworth at Bahrain-McLaren with the team hopeful that they could resurrect his career.
However, the COVID-19 limited his race time and he was unable to make the Tour de France team. He competed in a number of one-day races towards the end of the season but it looked as though the 30-time Tour de France stage winner might be forced into retirement before Lefevere came forward with a late offer of a contract.
“My heart said yes and my brain said no. It’s a risk but he brings a lot to the team. He’s still very famous and we’ve only had positive reactions on Twitter. I’m happy everyone is happy and I’m glad that he has this chance. I don't think that he deserved to stop cycling in the way he did his last races," Lefevere told Cyclingnews back in December.
"I’ve always maintained a good relationship with Mark. It’s been special but he was telling me that he wanted to come back, already when he was at Dimension Data, and then Bahrain. But this year you saw what I saw. The Mark Cavendish who was going in the breakaway from kilometre zero in the Tour of Flanders, who cried after Gent-Wevelgem.
"He has a long and sad story about Epstein Barr and all those different complaints. He has a chance now that nobody else wanted to give him but, for me, he starts at zero. We’ll take him for his experience but, to be clear, he’s not a trainer. He’s not a performance manager or a directeur sportif but he can bring some experience to the guys.
"He’s the best sprinter of his generation so he can give some tips to the young guys like Alvaro Hodeg, Fabio Jakobson, who was almost the best sprinters in the world, and Sam Bennett, who is strong and fast but sometimes has doubts about himself. In this sort of situation, Mark can be helpful and if he can win a race again that would be great.”
It’s unclear where Cavendish will start his race campaign, but he and his new team will link up later in January for a training camp in Spain.
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