Mark Renshaw will again ride with Mark Cavendish next season after Omega Pharma QuickStep announced they had signed the Australian rider for two years.
Renshaw, 30, was the most vital cog in Cavendish’s all conquering lead-out train at HTC-highroad. His arrival was announced just hours after Alessandro Petacchi was named as Omega Pharma’s latest, and immediate, signing.
With both Petacchi and Renshaw in the 2014 line up, Cavendish will hope to return to the Tour de France next year to win multiple stages. His tally of just two this year, against four for Marcel Kittel, was a direct result of the strength of the two riders’ lead out trains.
Argos-Shimano’s train was impressive throughout, while Omega Pharma’s often faltered.
Cavendish has amassed 15 wins in 2013, including five stages of the Giro d’Italia, but just two stage wins at the Tour de France will not have pleased him. He signed for the Belgian team late in 2012 when their roster was full, meaning they had to build a sprint train from the riders they already had in the squad.
When the train got it right, they were brilliant (Giro d’Italia stage six), but when they got it wrong they were easily swamped by rivals – like Argos or Lotto-Belisol – or Cavendish was left out of position.
Throughout the 2010 and 2011 seasons Renshaw was exceptional when riding for Cavendish in the sprints, and was often the reason for Cavendish’s wins. But as HTC was disbanded through the 2011 season, Renshaw signed with Rabobank meaning Cavendish went to Sky without him.
Pursuing his own results at Rabobank never paid off for Renshaw as the team, rebranded Belkin for this year’s Tour, has put it’s sprint ambitions behind Theo Bos. Renshaw’s non-selection for this year’s Tour seems to have been the final nail in the coffin.
Despite Omega’s two sprint signings, their Grand Tour ambitions for 2014 are not entirely clear cut. Today they also announced they had signed Colombian Rigoberto Uran from Sky. Uran finished second in this year’s Giro to Vincenzo Nibali.
In a press release team boss Patrick Lefevre said; “Rigoberto’s arrival reinforces our team as far as the major tours are concerned. Urán is a top rider and his talent on climbs goes without saying. On our team he will find an atmosphere and a group of riders who are ready to support him.”
It’s believed Team Sky were not able to afford to keep Uran on the books after developing him in to a GC contender while they have Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and Richie Porte still on their squad.