Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw are to be reunited at Astana Qazaqstan, as the latter joins the team as a sprint consultant for the Tour de France. Renshaw said he cancelled other jobs in July to take the chance to make history.
Cavendish will head to the Tour next week, his 14th, hoping to break the record for stage wins; his record currently stands at 34, tied with Eddy Merckx. Just one more victory would see the Manxman top the standings.
To help with this goal, his Astana Qazaqstan team has brought in Renshaw, Cavendish's long-term former leadout man to consult on sprint finishes. He led Cavendish to many of his famous wins, including helping him to six in 2009, when both rode for Columbia HTC.
The pair rode for HTC Highroad together, and then rejoined forces at Etixx Quick-Step and then latterly Dimension Data. Renshaw retired in 2019, while Cavendish is still riding.
“I am really thrilled to return to the Tour de France with Astana Qazaqstan Team and Mark Cavendish as a sprint and lead-out consultant," the 40-year-old said in a statement from Astana.
"After discussing the possibility to join Astana Qazaqstan Team with Alexandr Vinokurov and my ex-teammate Dmitriy Fofonov, I am really looking forward to bringing my skillset to help the team chase success.
"Our goal is to secure victories in the sprint stages, and I am eager to share my knowledge and experience gained as a lead-out rider and teammate of Mark Cavendish."
Cavendish's first - and only - win of the season came in May at the Giro d'Italia, where the 38-year-old won the final stage in Rome. He only needs a single similar opportunity to go top in the all-time stage win ranking.
“Mark’s recent victory in the Giro d'Italia is proof that he still possesses the speed, power, and determination needed to win Grand Tour stages," Renshaw continued. "With the support of Astana Qazaqstan Team and the talented riders selected for the race, I am confident that he has what it takes to win in this year’s Tour de France.
"I cancelled other jobs in July which shows my confidence in him. As we prepare for the important sprint stages, I am excited to work with the team’s Sports Directors to develop effective tactics and strategies, analysing and breaking down sprint stages is something I absolutely love to do.
"Mark’s career is already a big success, but I am excited to have the opportunity to help Mark finish his career on an absolute high and chase his 35th victory in the Grand Boucle."
Cavendish wrote on Instagram: "Sooo buzzing about this.... Apart from so many years together, so many victories & so many memories, the analytical view that Mark has on sprinting is ridiculously valuable. With the added bonus of knowing first hand how both my legs and mind work. Myself and everyone at Astana are proud and excited to have you on board mate."
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