Mark Cavendish takes 'positives' from record-breaking podium at Scheldeprijs

The Astana-Qazaqstan rider says he will "normally" go to the Giro d'Italia next month

Mark Cavendish at Scheldeprijs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

He might be 37, but Mark Cavendish is still breaking records, taking his seventh podium at Scheldeprijs on Wednesday, the most by a male rider.

The Astana-Qazaqstan rider equalled his best result in 2023 to date, taking third behind Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Sam Welsford (DSM).

In doing so, he overtook Ernest Sterckx who had six podiums between 1946 and 1954.

Speaking after the race, he spoke of taking "positives" from his performance on Wednesday, in a season which has been short of positives to date. He finished in the top ten twice more at the UAE Tour after finishing third on the opening stage, but had not got close to another top ten before Scheldeprijs.

At Milano-Torino, a race he won last year, Cavendish finished 33rd.

"It was quite a nice podium to be on with Jasper and Sam, and again I can take positives from how we rode as a team and how we did the sprint," he said. 

"I think more than the results it's about getting the team working together getting them into the depths of the sprints. As you can see the guys were pretty spot on, pretty superb."

"I went to follow Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), but I had to fight with Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla) a bit, so I was in the wind already at 450 metres to go," Cavendish added. 

"So, I had to go very long from where I normally wanted to go - at 250 metres to go if you are well sheltered. And then Jasper came with such speed."

Everything is heading towards the Tour de France for the Manxman, where he will hope to beat Eddy Merckx's record for stage wins - 34 - on the biggest setting of them all.

"It's always nice for a result, but it doesn't have a bearing on how we'll be going in July," Cavendish said.

Before then, he was happy with this separate, more minor record he broke.

"It's nice. Like always if it's another record - you just want to do the best as you can when you can," Cavendish said. 

"We have a young guy in the team Gleb Syritsa- he's a sprinter - we said to him how old were you in 2007? He's like 'six'. He was six when I won my first Scheldeprijs. Now we're racing together... it's pretty mad how the time goes."

The third place was good news for Cavendish and his Astana team; the Kazakh squad has only won one race in 2023 to date. It was green shoots of a sprint train coming together, too.

“We have to keep working to find that feeling for the sprint,” Astana sports director Stefano Zanini told VeloNews earlier this week. “What’s needed is that we need to do more races together and to keep trying and trying and trying. Above all, any sprinter, and in this case, Mark Cavendish, has to have faith in their teammates.”

Cavendish will almost definitely ride the Giro d'Italia next month ahead of the Tour, telling reporters on Monday he would do this "normally". There will be multiple sprint opportunities for the British rider to break his duck at the Italian race.

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.