Mark Cavendish still has a chance to go to the Tour de France and break the record for stage victories, despite his imminent exit from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.
That’s the view of Bradley Wiggins and Matt Stephens. The pair were discussing Cavendish’s future on The Bradley Wiggins Show podcast following the announcement he will be leaving the team by general manager Patrick Lefevere.
Cavendish made history in 2021 when he took a remarkable four stage wins to take his total to 34 and match the record of the legendary Eddy Merckx.
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However, his chances of breaking the record at this year's Tour were scuppered after he was left out of the Quick-Step team.
The duo discussed the nature of the decision, as well as the idea that the 37-year-old Manxman still has a major goal he hopes to achieve in his career.
“Yeah, we know that he was hunting for a team earlier in the year,” said Stephens.
“He said that he was looking at options. And it's officially unofficial, you can't announce teams until the first of August.
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“But quite clearly, Patrick Lefevere has gone on record and he said, I think the words were, ‘With a heavy heart, I can say that Mark Cavendish is no longer part of our set-up or plans.’ So you know, it was a relatively respectful statement because there's clearly a little bit of beef between them after the decisions that have been made.
“But there's also I think, a massive amount of respect. And when you look at the success Mark has had with that team, you can’t shy away from that. But let's hope Mark gets into a team that can take him to the Tour and get that record.”
“Who do we think he'll go to?” then asked Wiggins. “Because I have no idea at this stage.”
The two then speculated on possible destinations, as well as team set-ups that might or might not appeal to Cavendish in pursuit of his own success.
“What he doesn't want to do is go to a team with another really big sprinter does he really?” said Stephens.
“Well, he's still got ambitions for himself,” Wiggins responded. To which Stephens continued: “He would want to go to a team that can guarantee, barring illness and injury, that he's got a berth at the Tour.
Wiggins added: “But I imagine there will be no shortage of teams that would want that or that would see a place for Mark in their team.
“The team I think that might be interesting that have got good budget is Israel [Premier-Tech].
“The other one I thought as well was TotalEnergies,” suggested Wiggins “Because of the Specialized link.”
“Very good shout,” agreed Stephens. “I think he could easily fit into that squad, even alongside Peter Sagan because he's not a pure sprinter. That could be very interesting.
“With Edvald [Boasson Hagen] there," added Wiggins. “Niki Terpstra, Daniel Oss. Lots of good lead outriders. It'd be interesting.”
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