Tour de France great Cavendish ready to win again
At 37 and with a new World Tour contract just signed with Astana, Mark Cavendish is clear that “the goal is to win” as he embarks on what will likely be his final season.
The British sprinter will make his debut in 2023 on Saturday at the Tour of Oman, where he will, as usual, aim for victory and nothing less.
“The goal is not to win any particular race, but just to win,” the man with 161 wins told The Times.
The Isle of Man rider has had a particularly busy few months.
After ending his contract with the Quick-Step team, he agreed to join B&B Hotels, but then watched in disappointment as they folded when sponsorship deals fell through.
After weeks of tension and confusion, he signed a one-year contract with the Kazakh team Astana, now managed by his former teammate Alexander Vinokurov.
– Threaten with a knife –
Cavendish also had to deal with some traumatic personal experiences.
Last week, two men were sentenced to 12 and 15 years in prison for robbing his home in 2021, threatening him and his family with a knife.
His wife Peta, who was pregnant at the time, explained in court that the episode “turned a warm home into a constant reminder of fear and threats.”
Cavendish’s life in and out of cycling will be featured in an upcoming Netflix documentary.
He went through depression and a deeply debilitating Epstein-Barr virus. But among the achievements are the world title, the Monument race in Milan-San Remo and the silver Olympic medal.
In 2023, Cavendish has one last chance in the overall record for Tour de France stage wins of the 34 he holds with Eddy Merckx.
“I built my career on the Tour de France and now I’m at the point where I can only set a record for myself. People only think about one more Tour victory. I don’t aim to win. for, but two, three or more,” he said.
It looks like there will be eight chances for a sprint finish at the 2023 Tour, which will also give him a chance to win another green jersey.
Astana boss Vinokurov called Cavendish “the best sprinter of all time” when he joined the team, and many agreed with him.
“We talked about success and also what would happen if things got worse. He just told me, “If we don’t win, we won’t win, but we’ll try.” It’s been a long time since someone told me so.
“This is the first time I have been able to set a goal for myself and prepare for it, instead of having to prove myself first.
“Here I am respected for what I have achieved, what I still have to do, and just as a person.”