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

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.

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.

19 comments

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stever [65 posts] 3 years ago
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'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  1

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Fox [5 posts] 3 years ago
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What is a 'jouralist'? I find it increasingly hard to keep up with all these French cycling terms  7

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yenrod [106 posts] 3 years ago
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'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!

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Campag_10 [153 posts] 3 years ago
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I thought Cav won the maillot vert last year? And Evans was defending the maillot jaune.

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ColT [280 posts] 3 years ago
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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.  3

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RichK [33 posts] 3 years ago
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Can OPQ prise Renshaw away from Rabobank too?

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Ben Burns [60 posts] 3 years ago
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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!

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notfastenough [3665 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Mr. Rossi [36 posts] 3 years ago
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Imagine Boonen leading out Cav...

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SevenHills [195 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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Blackhound [434 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Alan Tullett [1566 posts] 3 years ago
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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.  3

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

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bikingscot [47 posts] 3 years ago
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Cav out, Cancellara in would be nice...

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AWPeleton [3267 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Simon E [2617 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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step-hent [719 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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italiafirenze [70 posts] 3 years ago
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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.