Mark Cavendish’s early season mechanical problems have led to a shift to a Dura-Ace chainset

We have previously reported Mark Cavendish’s mishaps at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, in both of which races he suffered a lost chain at a crucial moment.

Cavendish on team sponsor FSA's chain set at the Dubai Tour. Photo Watson

Cavendish on team sponsor FSA’s chainset at the Dubai Tour. Photo Watson

Cavendish’s Etixx – Quick-Step team is supplied with components by FSA and in early season races up until his crash in the sprint finish of the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico he was running the team issue mechanicals including FSA cranks and chainrings.

Cavendish in his blacked out SRAM phase at Tirreno-Adriatico stage 4

Cavendish in his blacked out SRAM phase at Tirreno-Adriatico stage 4. Photo Watson

By stage four of Tirreno-Adriatico and in Milan-San Remo he had switched to a SRAM chainring with the logos blacked out, but lost his chain to the outside again in Milan-San Remo on the penultimate climb of the Cipressa. Cavendish’s comments at the time suggested that other Etixx – Quick-Step riders, including Tom Boonen, had had the same problem.

>>> Mark Cavendish’s custom 2015 S-Works Venge

Ghent-Wevelgem

Cavendish on Shimano Dura-Ace chainset at Gent-Wevelgem. Phtot Watson

More recently, in Gent-Wevelgem and at the Tour of Turkey, Cavendish has been spotted running a Shimano Dura-Ace chainset and also seems to have switched power meter from the Power2Max of earlier races. Power2Max is another Etixx – Quick-Step sponsor, but does not offer a Shimano option for its meter.

We guess that the strong willed Cavendish has dug his heels in and reverted to a set-up which has previously worked for him and which he has greater confidence will bring him race victories. In 2014 and 2013 Omega Pharma – Quick-Step were using SRAM Red mechanicals, so this looks like a configuration which Cavendish last raced during 2012 when he was with Team Sky.

Nike shoes have been a feature throughout 2015 - here at the Dubai Tour

Nike shoes have been a feature throughout 2015 – here at the Dubai Tour. Photo Watson

Note also that his shoes bear a Nike flash, although his cvndsh website still promotes the Specialized S-Works shoes which he has worn in previous years.

Cavendish is clearly not afraid to rock the sponsorship boat in his quest for further palmarès.