Tearful Mark Cavendish drops biggest hint yet that he might have raced for the final time
Mark Cavendish at Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields - - GETTY IMAGES
A tearful Mark Cavendish hinted on Sunday that he may have driven for the last time. The 30-time stage winner of the Tour de France, one of the greatest sprinters cycling has ever seen, spoke after the end of Gent-Wevelgem in Belgium.
Cavendish spent most of the 232km race in the runaway before it was wrapped, and was clearly in an emotional state afterwards in the mixed zone. "This is maybe the last race of my career," he told the local broadcaster Sporza, took off his sunglasses and wiped his eyes. When asked if he felt it would really be the last race, he added "maybe yes" before driving away.
The 35-year-old Cavendish had some difficult years after an extraordinary season in 2016 that saw him win a Madison world title, four Tour de France stages, a silver medal in the Omnium at the Olympics and another silver in the world road championships.
The 2011 road world champion has not won a World Tour race in over two years after a terrible fall. He has missed most of two seasons with the Epstein-Barr virus and admitted to suffering from mental health problems.
Cavendish signed a one-year contract with Bahrain-McLaren for this season. Team manager Rod Ellingworth, speaking at the Giro d'Italia earlier this weekend, suggested that Cavendish-Bahrain McLaren negotiations are still ongoing for 2021. The British driver was expected to compete in Schelderprijs on Wednesday, a race he has won three times, but his recent comments make both his appearance in that race and any other future uncertain.
Cavendish tearfully spoke to local broadcaster Sporza
“We're still talking; Because of the situation this season, of course, everything happens later in the season, ”Ellingworth told Eurosport after the stage of the Giro on Sunday. “So the recruitment will take place later, we are not ready for next year. We recently secured the finances for the future. Mark, like many other drivers, will no longer have a contract, but the discussions will continue.
“Mark is reaching the age at which he is likely to think about post-cycling, and he hasn't had the successful season he would have hoped for. I haven't spoken to him about it in the last few days. Let's see, but the next few weeks are going to be crucial for any unsigned driver. "
Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) won the ninth stage of the Giro when his Portuguese rider Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) kept the leader's pink jersey until Monday's rest day.
Guerreiro clinched a second stage win for EF Pro Cycling when he broke the heart of Ineos Grenadiers' Jonathan Castroviejo on the last hundred meters of the 208 km stage to Roccaraso.
Briton Reece Wilson won gold in the men's downhill at the Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria. His time of three minutes and 51.243 seconds took his first rainbow jersey with the Austrians David Trummer and Remi Thirion from France in second and third place. Camille Balanche from Switzerland won the women's downhill race with a time of 5: 08.426, while Mikayla Parton from Britain came in fifth.
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