Despite missing out on selection for this year’s Tour de France, Mark Cavendish (Quick Step Alpha-Vinyl) says he has no plans to retire from racing.
Cavendish is currently level on points with the all-time great Eddy Merckx with a record 34 Tour stage wins but missed out on selection for this year’s Tour after his team favored Fabio Jakobsen.
Patrick Lefevere, general manager of Quick Step’s alpha vinyl team, recently said that he was “not part of our project.”
Cavendish, who recently won a second British national title on the road, says he still has ambitions to return to the Tour de France for a record stage 35 win, even if it appears the Manx Drivers must find a new team to do this.
On missing out on selection this year, Cavendish told the BBC: ‘I know I’m going to win again. It is what it is, of course I’d love to do it, I’ve always built my whole career around that. But at the end of the day, I’m a pro, I drive for a team, there’s 30 riders on the team… you have to ultimately take the emotion out and look at it as a kind of job guess.”
Despite his diplomatic stance on missing out, the Manxman admits he was a little disappointed not to return to France this July, especially given his recent good form.
Cavendish added: “The only thing I regret is knowing I was in shape to win there [Tour de France]. I’ve been at my best for a good decade, you know, and it’s like if you think that’s been a bit wasted, that can be tough.
The second win of his career at the British National Championships was a silver lining for the 37-year-old, and he stated he has no plans to retire from racing.
“I don’t see myself as retired, I think as long as I know I’m winning I’ll continue my career. And I know I’m going to win, so I’m going to continue my career and hopefully win there again.”
Missing out on Tour de France selection has allowed Cavendish to return to competing on home soil. Last weekend he competed in the Gran Fondo Isle of Man and finished eighth in a field of more than 200 riders. Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) also attended the event.
Next on the Quick-Step riders’ schedule is the Commonwealth Games, starting July 28 in Birmingham. Cavendish will be competing for the Isle of Man and stated that he is looking forward to the event.
Cavendish said: “The biggest factor for sure is that I can race with my mates, that’s very special.”
The 37-year-old will be the Isle of Man flag bearer at the Games opening ceremony and previously won gold at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, Australia, in the scratch race.
The Isle of Man squad for the Games consists of 13 drivers. Other riders will be fighting for the island including Matt Bostock (Wiv-SunGod) and Lizzie Holden (Le Col-Wahoo).
Reflecting on the quality of the squad, Cavendish concluded: “We can go from this small island and have not just a favourite, but a team that is going to be one of the strongest teams in the race. That is super exciting.”