Mark Renshaw says that he has no desire to become a sprinter again and that he is happy to play a support role at his new team Dimension Data next season. The newest addition to the WorldTour teams has always been reluctant to put riders into boxes but, two years after returning to his role as a lead-out man, Renshaw believes he will be best put to use helping others.
Renshaw has just had his first chance to get to know his new team at their training camp in South Africa last week. The Australian has switched to the South African outfit with sprinter Mark Cavendish this winter. It’s a move that will also link him up with former teammates Bernhard Eisel, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Theo Bos.
“I had a goal-setting meeting and they asked me my individual goals and I said that I don’t have individual goals. I’ll only ride for the team and for the sprinters so the goal will be to win 15 or 20 races with Cav, to win a classic with Edvald and these sorts of goals,” he told Cyclingnews at the team’s hotel on the Cape Town waterfront. “It’s more about being on the highest level throughout the year and looking after Cav and some of the other guys at the bigger races.
“Sure throughout the year there are always opportunities that will get thrown in your lap, normally it happens once or twice a year and it’s just whether or not you can pull it off. 99 per cent of the time I will be working for other riders.”
One target that Renshaw does have for himself is spot in the Australian team for the World Championships. He indicated to Cyclingnews last month he would be looking to go to Qatar and the Rio Olympics in 2016. Surprisingly, Renshaw has never raced at the Worlds after controversially being left out of the squad for the 2011 road race in Copenhagen, much to his disappointment and despite the sprinter friendly course. The 33-year-old is hoping to get his eye in with his first appearance at the Tour of Qatar since 2012.
“It’s still disappointing that I missed that chance. This year will probably be the next chance for three or four years so I want to make the most of that. I’ve got a good track record in Qatar and it looks like I’ll race there after being away for a couple of years. I’m looking forward to hopefully being chosen for the team and bringing something to it,” he said.
There will be more to the 2016 than just the racing and during the team training camp Renshaw and his teammates had a chance to visit a South African community to get some first-hand experience of what the Qhubeka charity involves. The team travelled outside of the centre of Cape Town to deliver some Qhubeka buffalo bicycles to children. It was an eye-opener for Renshaw, who had never done anything like it, and it has given him a different perspective on his racing.
“It’s a great aspect about the team. They have this underlying charity to the team and what they work towards here in Africa is pretty special,” said Renshaw. “We come from very privileged countries that are very different to Africa and South Africa. It’s a great part of the team and I’m pretty proud that I’ll be representing that next year. If my racing can help put kids on bikes and fund them for the future then that’s pretty special.”
Renshaw is likely to begin his season at the Tour Down Under, alongside fellow Australian and new teammate Cameron Meyer.
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Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.