Rumours of Mark Cavendish move to Bahrain-Merida resurface

Cavendish’s former coach Rod Ellingworth is set to take over the team later this year

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Rumours that Mark Cavendish could make the move to Bahrain-Merida have resurfaced, after the Brit wasn’t selected for the Tour de France by his Dimension Data team.

Cavendish was believed to be in talks with the WorldTour squad last season, as British motor racing giant McLaren came on board as 50 per cent partner in the team, but the deal fell through and the sprinter re-signed with Dimension Data for another year.

But Cavendish was left out of the Tour de France 2019 team and is believed to be on the move, with rumours suggesting talks with Bahrain could resume, according to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. (opens in new tab)

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These rumours are supported by the news that Cavendish’s former coach, Rod Ellingworth, will be taking over Bahrain-Merida as team principal from October, having left Team Ineos after a decade with the team.

As Cavendish’s Dimension Data contract near its end in 2018, the 34-year-old was thought to be looking elsewhere for a contract as his relationship with the team boss Doug Ryder were reportedly strained.

The McLaren Group announced it would become a 50 per cent joint partner in Bahrain-Merida, and Cavendish was then believed to be in talks with the outfit, having previously worked with McLaren on developing technology, including the Specialized bikes Cavendish rode at HTC-Highroad.

Cavendish instead re-signed with Dimension Data on a one-year contract for 2019, but the partnership hasn’t proved fruitful as he has struggled to reach previous heights after a long-running illness, resulting in him being dropped from the Tour squad.

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It also emerged earlier this year that Ellingworth, a founding member of Team Sky in 2010, would be leaving to take the helm of Bahrain-Merida.

Ellingworth and Cavendish have a long history as coach and athlete, first working together at the British Cycling Academy, and going on to win the 2011 World Championships together, and a brief stint on the same team when Cavendish rode for Sky in 2012.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.