“People think I’m just sitting behind eight people and sprinting, I can run,” Cavendish says ahead of Worlds return
“Questions about the Worlds please,” read the statement half an hour before Mark Cavendish’s online pre-race press conference in Flanders.
This meant that a few topics were off the table.
First, her thoughts on comments from her boss, Deceuninck – Patrick Lefevere of Quick-Step, that women’s cycling is a ‘charity’ the Belgian was unwilling to support. British star Lizzie Deignan is also present at the Team GB hotel in Belgium and has been unwavering in her assessment of the 66-year-old just 24 hours earlier.
Second, his contract renewal with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, which is said to be about to be completed.
Even the most amateur of detectives can understand the catch in these two investigative leads and the potential awkwardness that could be raised, splashing all over the gigantic elephant in the room.
>>> Lizzie Deignan on Patrick Lefevere: “I’m glad he’s not interested in women’s cycling, we aren’t interested in him either”
But it’s still disappointing. Cavendish has long been a strong supporter of women’s cycling, as recently as this summer when he praised the “inspiring” Marianne Vos, purposefully highlighting her accomplishments at the Giro Donne, which ran alongside her Tour de France. back when all eyes were on him.
But we’re all old enough to know how access works, and it’s not great outside of a Zoom meeting to try and listen, so just hope his ally comes back once the pen is out. put on paper on the new deal, eh?
So the Worlds, his first since Qatar 2016.
“Half of the team is younger than [me] when I won the Worlds 10 years ago and it makes me feel pretty old, ”admits Cavendish.
He believes Great Britain have a well-rounded squad that can adapt to different situations, that cohesion will be important, and between the strong squad also containing Tom Pidcock and Ethan Hayter, there are a number of ways in which they could potentially win the race.
Whether a sprint is one of those situations, and if he could find himself disputing one, gets pushed back, he won’t talk about leadership details, and anyway, why put the pressure on his young teammates? His analysis is that the race will not be decided by the course or the wind, but how their rivals decide to run on Sunday.
“People think I’m just sitting behind eight people and sprinting, I can run. I can ride a bike, you know? I can adapt to different situations,” he laughs. “I am racing for a Belgian team, I won a lot of races in Belgium and I think the team judged me capable of a world championship in Flanders.”
On Pidcock, who missed his date with the press after apparently getting lost in the tranquility of his massage (hasn’t that happened to everyone at some point?), He says he’s already proven himself , having recently acquired an Olympic gold medal. medal, but this patience is a virtue.
“I think people forget he’s still just a kid,” Cavendish explains. “He is only in his first year as a professional and there is a lot of difference in racing as a professional … but there is no doubt now he is an Olympic champion.
“He’s a nice boy, he’s good in the squad,” adds the 36-year-old. “These young guys who grew up together, whom I know from my experience when I won the world championships, I had my friends there. It wasn’t just guys who came to run as a team. Stannard , Thomas, Brad, Steve, Froomey, Millar, most of us grow up together There is a difference between going to work for someone and fighting with someone.
“It’s pretty nice to see these guys having the same connection as us. Coming in as a small unit. If you can spot things that you can relate to, that’s fine, as an old man.”
Cavendish says he plans to compete in the UK Nationals this year, but remains quiet about his other plans going forward.
“Just enjoy the race” is what awaits him. “I love to ride a bike, I don’t have much time left. I also think that when I take advantage of it, I perform better, so I will continue to do it.”