Despite missing out on selection for the Tour de France this year, Mark Cavendish (Quick Step Alpha-Vinyl) says he has no plans to retire from racing.
Cavendish is currently tied with the all-time great, Eddy Merckx, on a record 34 Tour stage wins, but missed out on selection for this year’s Tour after his team favoured Fabio Jakobsen.
Patrick Lefevere, general manager of the Quick Step Alpha-Vinyl team recently said that he was "not part of our project".
However, Cavendish, who recently achieved a second British National road title, says he still has ambitions to return to the Tour de France in search of a record 35th stage win, even if it seems that the Manx rider will need to find a new team to do so.
On missing out on selection this year, Cavendish told the BBC: “I know I’ll win again. It is what it is, obviously I’d love to do it, I’ve always built my whole career around it. But I’m a professional at the end of the day, I ride for a team, there’s 30 riders on the team… you’ve ultimately got to take the emotion out of it, and look at it as a kind of a job I guess.”
Despite his diplomatic stance on missing out, the Manxman admits he was slightly disappointed not to return to France this July, particularly in light of his recent run of good form.
Cavendish added: “The only thing I regret is that I know I was in the form to win there [Tour de France]. I’m in my best form for easily a decade, you know, and it’s kind of like when you think that’s gone to waste a bit, that can be hard.”
Tasting victory for a second time in his career at the British National Championships provided a silver-lining for the 37-year-old, and he explained he has no plans to retire from racing.
“I don’t see myself retiring, I think as long as I know I’ll win then I’ll carry on my career. And I know I’ll win so I’ll carry on my career, and hopefully get to win there again.”
Missing out on Tour de France selection has enabled Cavendish to return to competition on home soil. Last weekend, he took part in the Gran Fondo Isle of Man, finishing eighth out of a field of more than 200 riders. Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) also took part in the event.
Next on the Quick-Step riders programme is the Commonwealth Games which begin in Birmingham on 28 July. Cavendish will be competing for the Isle of Man, and explained that he was looking forward to the event.
Cavendish said: “The biggest factor for sure is that I get to race with my mates, that’s pretty special.”
The 37-year-old will be the Isle of Man flag bearer at the opening ceremony for the games, and previously won gold at the 2006 games in Melbourne, Australia in the scratch race.
The Isle of Man squad for the games is 13 riders strong. Other riders set to compete for the island, including Matt Bostock (Wiv-SunGod) and Lizzie Holden (Le Col-Wahoo).
Reflecting on the quality of the squad, Cavendish concluded: “We can go from this small island with, not just having a rider that’s a favourite, but a team that’s going to be one of the strongest teams in the race. That’s super exciting.”
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