Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Brian Holm says Mark Cavendish is in for some tough love when he re-joins the team in the new year, but that he has the chance to work his way towards winning a bike race again.
“He knows very well that he will not step into the team as the superstar, as he was last time. His role will be completely different. He almost starts all over again as a professional. He will have to take the lead and pick up bottles,” Holm told Danish broadcaster DR Sporten.
Holm says that although Cavendish won’t have the chance to ride the 2021 Tour de France, he will have the chance to prove his worth and gain the chance to go for the win himself, and that in the past few years Cavendish’s problems may have stemmed from him being bigger than the teams he’s ridden for, where no-one can really tell him no.
“He can work his way up through the hierarchy of the team quietly and then maybe in half a year’s time we can try to run for him and give him the opportunity to run his own chance of winning in a smaller stage race. But it will not be in the Tour de France. I can no longer imagine that,” Holm said.
“When I look at it a bit from the top down, his persona in recent years has been almost bigger than the teams he has ridden for, and it has not really worked. There we’ll probably peel him down and put him in place. He comes back to a team where he has to adjust when he gets an order. And Mark will appreciate that. I know him.
“The more a rider like Mark complains, the more he should have again. There, as sports director, I have to say ‘shut up and do what I say’. It may sound violent, but that kind of unsweetened honesty makes him good.”
Cavendish has taken 146 wins during his career, but the last one came nearly three years ago in February 2018 at the Dubai Tour.
Before landing a contract with Deceuninck – Quick-Step for 2021 negotiations with current team Bahrain-McLaren had stalled, and Cavendish was brought to tears at the finish of Gent-Wevelgem, when he thought it might have been his last ever professional race.