Mark Cavendish looks to be getting closer to being back to his old self again after a series of solid results in recent races, as he continues his search for a win.
Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) has been showing some excellent form in recent weeks, taking two second places at Coppi e Bartali, including a stint in the leader’s jersey, while earlier this week he claimed third place at Scheldeprijs – a race he has won three times in his illustrious career – behind Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) and team-mate Sam Bennett.
The Manxman also managed to beat the likes of European champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) and Giro d’Italia points jersey winner Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) at the Belgian semi-Classic.
All this has earned Cavendish the chance to lead the team at the upcoming Tour of Turkey, where his team hopes he’ll claim that elusive win.
Team sports director, Wilfried Peeters spoke to Het Laastte Nieuws after Scheldeprijs: “We added Mark to the [Scheldeprijs] selection at the last minute. We can’t blame him – he was in the first group, after all, and he did exactly what we told him to do.
“That pleasantly surprised us. The disappointment [at not winning] would be a lot bigger if we hadn’t won anything yet this season. The fact is that we have to learn from it.
“But I want to end on a positive note. Cav is now really close to winning. In the Tour of Turkey? Of course, it will depend on little things, but yes it’s possible.”
The 35-year-old has managed seven stage wins in Turkey between the years 2014 and 2015. He will be hoping he can add to that as he comes up against a relatively weakened sprint field. Apart from Scheldeprijs winner Philipsen there are only one or two other obvious names that could challenge.
Cavendish will be joined by former Dutch champion, Fabio Jakobsen, who is making his first appearance since his horrific crash with Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) at the Tour of Poland in 2020 where he suffered brain trauma and serious injuries to his face that required reconstructive surgery.
As well as Jakobsen, the British rider be joined by fastman Álvaro Hodeg, lead out man Shane Archbald, Iljo Keisse and Stijn Steels. Interestingly the team have not selected the full seven riders for the 2.Pro race.