Jeremy Hunt of Cervélo TestTeam and Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas, the current British National Champion, are reportedly set to be selected as Mark Cavendish’s team mates for the HTC-Columbia riders bid to win the World Road Race Championship in Geelong in October.
The 36-year-old Hunt, who has himself twice been British champion, took part in the Tour de France for the first time this year where he could often be seen working hard at the front of the peloton for team mate Thor Hushovd.
Now, according to South Devon newspaper the Herald Express, his friend and mentor Colin Lewis says that Hunt has been chosen given one of the three places in the Great Britain team for the World Championship road race where he will act as lead out man to the HTC-Columbia sprinter.
“Cavendish has definitely had a say in the team, and he wants Jez as his lead-out man,” explained Lewis, who lives in Devon and was British Champion in 1967 and 1968, adding “Jez is really made up to be picked."
While Lewis's comments suggest that he is privy to information that hasn't yet been made public, and as the newspaper points out, Hunt has a home in Australia and knows the World Championship course well, there's nothing concrete about who the third British rider might be.
However, the newspaper added that Geraint Thomas, who after Cavendish was perhaps surprisingly the highest-profile British rider at the Tour de France, coming second to Hushovd on Stage 3 over the Paris-Roubaix cobbles and spending four days in the leading young rider's white jersey, is expected to be the third member of the team.
Unlike last year in Mendrsio, Switzerland, where Great Britain fielded the maximum possible nine riders, the UCI qualification system means that with fewer ranking points accrued by the nation’s top riders this year compared to 2009, the country is only eligible to enter three riders in the 262km race from Melbourne to Geelong.
In wining the final stage of this year’s Tour de France in Paris despite the absence of his usual leadout man Mark Renshaw, disqualified earlier in the race, Cavendish showed that he still has the ability to use opponents’ wheels to get him to the right place to launch his assault for the line when he needs to.
With a couple of nasty climbs on the 11-lap closing circuit at the World Championships, there’s no guarantee that the race will finish with a sprint, but if it does, Cavendish, who in winning last year’s Milan-Sanremo proved that he’s not just a flat-track sprinter, will be one of the favourites to take the rainbow jersey.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.