Cavendish "almost certain" to leave Sky at end of season, claims journalist with close links to team

Richard Moore, author of 'Sky's the Limit' says Cavendish's opportunities limited if he stays there due to GC focus

by Simon_MacMichael   July 26, 2012  

Mark Cavendish MSR 2012 (© Simon MacMichael)

Mark Cavendish is “almost certain” to leave Team Sky at the end of this season, according to cycling journalist and author Richard Moore who has close ties to the British ProTeam.

Moore, author of books including Sky's the Limit: British Cycling's Quest to Conquer the Tour de France, made the prediction in a blog piece for Sky Sports.

Cavendish picked up three stage wins in the Tour de France, but two of those came on the final two road stages of the race, by which time the maillot jaune had been all but secured by Bradley Wiggins after the race headed out of the Pyrenees.

Cavendish’s defence of the green jersey he won last year had long since evaporated, and while he relished the domestique role he played in much of the race in helping a team mate secure the sport’s biggest prize, it’s not one he’s likely to be willing to repeat on a regular basis.

Some believe that the world champion’s move to Team Sky was only ever likely to be a temporary marriage of convenience with his big target this year being the Olympic Road Race.

The fact that three of his four team mates on Saturday also race for Sky plus the overlap between the ProTeam’s set-up and that of British Cycling means it’s been far easier for Cavendish to plan his season around the Games than would have been the case elsewhere.

Moore also points out that Cavendish’s negotiations with Team Sky were conducted ahead of Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins finishing second and third in September’s Vuelta, something that in hindsight changed the game plan even before he joined.

While he would not be confirmed as joining the team until after he had won the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen, as Team Sky’s season built towards the Tour it became clear that its aspirations were very much on the yellow jersey, not the green one Cavendish won last year.

Although we don’t yet know the full parcours of next year’s race, it’s certain that the GC, not the points classification, will be the team’s focus, something that was confirmed by Team Principal Dave Brailsford in the wake of Wiggins' victiory at the weekend, hinting he wouldn't stand in his way if he chose to leave.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step tried to secure Cavendish’s signature for this season, and Moore believes the Belgian team is his likely destination. Such a move would reunite him with several former colleagues at HTC-Highroad, as well as his former Directeur Sportif there, Brian Holm.

Moore also believes that Geraint Thomas will be given support to target the Tour of Flanders next year - again, the Welshman's current preparations to help defend Great Britain's Olympic team pursuit title benefit from his being at Team Sky rather than elsewhere - while Wiggins himself is planning on racing Paris-Roubaix with the aim of winning it before he retires.

19 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

'Cavendish’s defence of the maillot jaune he won last year had long since evaporated"

'Jaune?' Go on, edit that and make me look stupid Smile

posted by stever [53 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:21

1 Like

What is a 'jouralist'? I find it increasingly hard to keep up with all these French cycling terms Confused

posted by Fox [5 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:43

3 Likes

'Bout time Thomas started doing something on the road...a total under-perfomer.

The only notable win they've had in 3yrs is the TDF - some may say thats credit enough, if they didnt have the big-bucks of Sky then they would've been close to the edit!

posted by yenrod [100 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:45

0 Likes

I thought Cav won the maillot vert last year? And Evans was defending the maillot jaune.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:51

2 Likes

Would love to have seen Cav in jaune last year...

...while you are at it, check you have the correct flags in place in case any Koreans feature. Wink

ColT's picture

posted by ColT [218 posts]
26th July 2012 - 11:09

0 Likes

Can OPQ prise Renshaw away from Rabobank too?

posted by RichK [25 posts]
26th July 2012 - 11:21

0 Likes

yenrod wrote:
The only notable win they've had in 3yrs is the TDF - some may say thats credit enough, if they didnt have the big-bucks of Sky then they would've been close to the edit!

What about Paris-Nice, Tour of Romandie oh and Criterium du Dauphine.....and thats just this year....last year wasn't bad either considering it was their second year on the road!

Ben Burns's picture

posted by Ben Burns [61 posts]
26th July 2012 - 11:35

2 Likes

yenrod wrote:
'Bout time Thomas started doing something on the road...a total under-perfomer.

The only notable win they've had in 3yrs is the TDF - some may say thats credit enough, if they didnt have the big-bucks of Sky then they would've been close to the edit!

Really?! Oh ok then.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3329 posts]
26th July 2012 - 13:14

0 Likes

Imagine Boonen leading out Cav...

posted by Mr. Rossi [37 posts]
26th July 2012 - 16:00

3 Likes

Mr. Rossi wrote:
Imagine Boonen leading out Cav...

Not sure Boonen would be that happy about the prospect of becoming part of Cav's lead out train.

posted by SevenHills [149 posts]
26th July 2012 - 16:16

2 Likes

I wonder if this might be just the start if Sky are rigidly sticking to their GC ambitions.

Boassan Hagen, Swift and Appolonio are all likely to have considerably reduced opportunities in the big races left to fighting it out in races like the Tour of Poland or minor classics. EBH in particular could well lead other teams and compete with Sagan. Swift looks fast and given the chance could take grand tour stage wins.

Likewise, how long will Uran, Henao, Porte and others wait for their chance at glory (assuming they feel they can win a grand tour) behind Wiggins and Froome?

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
26th July 2012 - 16:54

0 Likes

Three Grand Tours and BW & CF can't do them all.
I would like Team Sky to aim seriously for the Giro. Could suit CF.

Blackhound's picture

posted by Blackhound [448 posts]
26th July 2012 - 21:05

3 Likes

Next year:

Uran/Porte for Giro
Froome/Wiggins for Tour
Henao/Lofkvist/Zandio for Vuelta

Flecha and G campaigning on Cobbles
Nordhaug and EBH other classics

Not sure for Week longs.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1730 posts]
26th July 2012 - 22:11

3 Likes

ColT wrote:
Would love to have seen Cav in jaune last year...

...while you are at it, check you have the correct flags in place in case any Koreans feature. Wink

He's a decent cheap rider as well as I've got him.

posted by Alan Tullett [1457 posts]
26th July 2012 - 22:30

2 Likes

Cav out, Cancellara in would be nice...

posted by bikingscot [45 posts]
26th July 2012 - 23:47

3 Likes

Can see Cav leaving as Sky seem destined to roll out GC hopefulls for each Grand Tour.

For this years Vuelta i would like to see Froome helped by Uran and Henao, quite a formidable climbing trio with the rest of the team set up for stage wins with either Appollonio or Swift.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2809 posts]
27th July 2012 - 2:38

0 Likes

yenrod wrote:
'Bout time Thomas started doing something on the road...a total under-perfomer.

I'd say that's a bit unfair. As well as that tremendous cobbled stage of the Tour in 2010 where he finished 2nd behind Hushovd (and subsequently put his own ambitions and the white jersey to one side) he has happily taken on domestique and leadout roles and is pretty hot at both. However, the Team Pursuit is his priority this year but 2013 will be different, and he's still only 26 years of age.

You say the 2012 TdF is their "only notable win", what planet are you on? More wins in 2010 than expected, Bayern (GT) and the Dauphiné (BW) plus 2nd & 3rd at the Vuelta in 2011 and, most notably, Bradley's stage race sweep of Paris-Nice, Romandy, the Dauphiné and the Tour de France in 2012. There are others - smaller races, stage wins (EBH in 2011 TdF) etc. Brailsford has acknowledged that the Classics are an area where results have failed to meet their expectations but you can bet that once they apply themselves they have the talent and experience to be a force there too. It's not just about money, there are teams with bigger budgets.

As for Cavendish, he will go if another team looks a good fit for him and will support his burning desire to win. My money is on OPQS. I don't mind where he goes as long as he is comfortable, as he will keep on winning races.

Edit: after posting the above I later realised I would be much less comfortable if he ended up riding with an outfit with a dubious record like Astana, RetirementShack (which may well bite the dust anyway) or Katusha.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2001 posts]
27th July 2012 - 4:49

3 Likes

drheaton wrote:
I wonder if this might be just the start if Sky are rigidly sticking to their GC ambitions.

Boassan Hagen, Swift and Appolonio are all likely to have considerably reduced opportunities in the big races left to fighting it out in races like the Tour of Poland or minor classics.

To be fair, Brailsford hasn't said Sky are GC only - that's just their focus for the stage races. He also said they need to up their game for the Classics - which gives people like EBH, Thomas and Swift more of a chance to win something.

I think the key message is that they won't focus on Grand Tour sprint wins, which at the moment is Cav's key strength.

posted by step-hent [694 posts]
27th July 2012 - 8:25

1 Like

What about GreenEdge for Cav? They have the budget and have somewhat underperformed so far.

I'd suggest Liquigas but don't think they'd have the budget. But I might be wrong about that.

posted by italiafirenze [68 posts]
29th July 2012 - 19:10

1 Like