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.
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.
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.