Speaking exclusively to Cycling Weekly before the start of the race in Bilbao, the Australian explained that “anything is possible” with Cavendish, who is just one victory away from breaking the all-time stage win record he currently shares with Eddy Merckx.
“I’m confident he’s definitely going to be in the pointy end and challenging the other best sprinters,” Renshaw said.
“Honestly, I know Cav well and in a situation like now, we could see him take one victory, or two, I think. Anything is possible like that. I think he’s going to come in in the best shape possible. I know he’s had a good preparation.”
Renshaw guided Cavendish to many of his famous wins at the race, helping him take six victories in 2009 in the colours of Columbia HTC. To assist the Manxman once again, the now retired lead-out man has cleared his schedule and joined Astana Qazaqstan as a sprint consultant for the Tour this July.
“I first pitched it to Cav late last year,” he explained. "Dmitriy Fofonov [Astana Qazaqstan sports director] was an old team-mate of mine, so I reached out to Dmitriy earlier this year. It was all finalised quite late, but throughout the year I speak to Cav, and any help I can give him in his final year, I’d be proud to help.”
After a handful of podium places this season, Cavendish claimed his first victory with Astana Qazaqstan on the final day of the Giro d’Italia, surging ahead in the bunch sprint.
The 38-year-old also revealed his plans to retire during the Italian Grand Tour, announcing in a press conference that he will end his illustrious career when this season closes.
“When you see the finish line in sight in your career, there’s an extra motivation to give 110%,” Renshaw said. “The one big thing is you can’t write him off. When you think he’s done, he pulls a rabbit out of a hat.
“Honestly, he doesn’t have the team, and youth’s not on his side - everything’s not on his side - but what he does have is he’s got a hell of a lot of determination and a hell of a lot of experience.”
The Tour de France begins this Saturday in Bilbao, Spain. Cavendish has previously said that he sees “seven or eight” sprint opportunities at this year’s race, but one victory would suffice to break the stage-win record he currently shares with Eddy Merckx, both men tied with 34.
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