During a television interview after the opening stage of the Tour of Britain, Bradley Wiggins hints that his Madison partner Cavendish will leave Etixx-QuickStep
Wiggins was talking to Sky Sports about his partnership with Cavendish in the Madison event on the track. When asked whether he would be appearing with Cavendish again on the track, Wiggins said: “Depending on what his programme is there is a chance that we will ride the Worlds together next year in London in the Madison, which will be nice. Obviously he’s changing teams and stuff, so we can see how it pans out.”
Cavendish is hoping to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio in the men’s omnium event, and recently gained enough qualification points to ride in the World Cup this winter, an important step towards Olympic qualification and selection.
Etixx-QuickStep team general manager Patrick Lefevre has made no secret in the past that he is not entirely happy with Cavendish riding on the track out of team colours.
“We pay him to perform on the road, and he must fully concentrate on that,” Lefevre said back in 2013 when Cavendish wanted to ride in the Ghent Six. “Our bicycle sponsor, Specialized makes a considerable effort for Cavendish, so of course I do not want to see Mark on a black bicycle. As long as we pay him, I do not want to see him on the track.”
Subsequently, however, Cavendish has ridden on the track in trade team colours, including this past winter where he raced in Six Day events.
Watch: Mark Cavendish’s Specialized Venge
Cavendish’s contract with Etixx was up for renegotiation at the end of 2015. The speculation is that Cavendish is seeking a team for 2016 that is more sympathetic to him training and competing in the 2016 Olympics, rather than purely riding on the road.
Both Wiggins and Cavendish are currently riding in the 2015 Tour of Britain. Cavendish narrowly missed out on victory in the opening stage after being pipped on the line by Sky’s Elia Viviani. Having left Sky in April, Wiggins now rides for the eponymously named Team Wiggins, and he assisted the squad’s Owain Doull to a creditable fourth place.
Cavendish is on the long list for Great Britain’s World Championships road race squad at the end of the month in Richmond, USA. The Manxman has ridden the course and checked it out in some detail, and has a fair chance to add to his 2011 World title if the 2015 race comes down to a bunch sprint.
Cavendish is Britain’s most successful cyclist in history. He has won 26 stages of the Tour de France, the World Championships and has 133 victories since turning professional in 2007. The one thing missing in his palmares is Olympic gold.