Wiggins expects Cavendish exit as Brailsford outlines aim of Team Sky GC dominance

World champion better off elsewhere says Tour de France winner as Sky looks to repeat overall success

by Simon_MacMichael   August 20, 2012  

Mark Cavendish MSR 2012 (© Simon MacMichael)

Bradley Wiggins saying he can appreciate why world champion Mark Cavendish may wish to leave the British outfit at the end of the season now that its focus has changed to riding for the overall win at cycling’s Grand Tours. Team principal Dave Brailsford, meanwhile, has said that he is targeting repeated success in the Tour de France with the aim of turning Team Sky into one of the biggest sports teams in the world.

Wiggins, who added Olympic time trial gold at London 2012 to his Tour de France title, was quoted in the Guardian as saying: "On a personal level I have enjoyed riding with him this year and I enjoy his company but I understand why he would probably have to leave.

“I love seeing him win as much as anyone else and to see Mark back out on the Tour winning six, seven or eight different stages and challenging for the green, he probably has to go.

"At Sky we have set a precedent now. If we are going to dominate cycling and win three grand tours in a year, we have to start building to that GC thing.

“Unfortunately for Mark, as we saw in the Tour, the two don't really go well together. For his own career I understand why he has to do it but from a selfish point of view I would like him to stay."

Cavendish, who still has more than two years of his contract to run, played a largely supporting role to Wiggins during the Tour.

Although he won three stages, two of those, including a fourth consecutive victory on the Champs-Elysees, came after the overall win had been more or less secured, meaning that the team was able to change its focus to supporting the sprinter rather than defending Wiggins’ lead.

The trade-off for Cavendish playing that unaccustomed supporting part at the Tour was the support he would be given in the Olympic road in London race a week later.

While Wiggins, Chris Froome and the rest of the British team dug deep to try and control the race to ensure it would come down to a sprint finish, a big group containing a number of dangerous riders got away on the final circuit of Box Hill and it wouldn’t be brought back.

Next year, of course, the Olympics won’t be a factor and team principal Dave Brailford, who is also performance director of British Cycling, said last month that he wouldn’t stand in Cavendish’s way if he decided to leave.

Quoted in Mail Online, Brailsford confirmed that Team Sky’s Grand Tour ambitions now revolved firmly around targeting the GC.

“I want to build one of the best sports teams in the world, if not the best,” he said, “and I’m talking all sports. What are the criteria in becoming a Barcelona or a Real Madrid, a New Zealand All Blacks, a Ferrari, an LA Lakers and so on? How do the very best go about their business? What do they all have in common?

“First and foremost, it means results. Yes, we’ve won the Tour and did it ahead of schedule, but we need to win it again and again. We believe we have the tools and the riders. But it’s also to do with our attitudinal approach to everything connected to us.

“We want to become the model sports team, a point of reference for not just cycling but world sport to follow in terms of innovation, technology, team building and pushing the boundaries.”

This time last year, when Team Sky was conducting negotiations to bring Cavendish on board, it would have been easy to dismiss such words as wishful thinking, but the podium places secured by Froome and Wiggins in last year’s Vuelta began the shift in the team’s focus that was completed with it securing the top two spots on GC in the Tour.

According to Mail Online, BMC heads the list of Cavendish’s potential suitors, although recruiting him would see it have to change its Tour de France focus from challenging for the maillot jaune, which Cadel Evans won with it last year, to the points competition.

Katusha and Omega Pharma-Quick Step are seen as the next most likely destinations, while Liquigas-Cannondale, Lampre-ISD and Rabobank are also said to have sounded Cavendish out.

As for Wiggins, he confirmed yesterday that he will be taking part in the Tour of Britain, and while he will be at the UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands next month, he won’t be riding the time trial there.

"For me [the world championship is] not big at all. I am the Olympic champion, that is the one everyone wants to win. I won't be doing the time trial. I have a lot of commitments now in the next six weeks and I am probably not going to be able to give the time to the training that is required to win the gold there.

"I will be there in a supporting role to help the guys in the road race and it is the same with the Tour of Britain. A lot of guys have ridden for me all year and rather than just stop and say I have won what I wanted to win and go on holiday for six months and get fat, I thought it would be nice to go back there and help the team in those races."

11 user comments

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The Mail? That well know paragon of cycling virtue and incisive pro-peloton knowledge?

I'm sure the only thing that will entice Cav to LeakyGas would be them sacking Sagan and building a team around him (and let's face it, so many have left LGC this season, that's a possibility)

Is all this talk about Cav and Sky parting their ways down to DB misleading Cav over their intentions towards him, or Cav's possible naivety over the terms of his contract? I'm guessing there were legal eagles involved on both sides when pen was put to paper last year and Cav doesn't seem the type to go into things with his eyes wide shut.

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [412 posts]
20th August 2012 - 13:37

3 Likes

Am so surprised (not) SKY are going for the cycling grand slam Giro, TdF and Vuelta in one season. Anyone going to say they can't do it?

More interesting than Cavendish going to BMC or any of the others current pro tour teams what if there was another UK based cycle squad targeting stages and classics not GC. Step up 'virgin cycling' now that would be an intriguing media tussle.

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
20th August 2012 - 13:41

1 Like

lushmiester wrote:
More interesting than Cavendish going to BMC or any of the others current pro tour teams what if there was another UK based cycle squad targeting stages and classics not GC. Step up 'virgin cycling' now that would be an intriguing media tussle.

Endura Racing? Some good wins this year and ambitious plans for the future from what I've heard.

posted by sporran [39 posts]
20th August 2012 - 13:56

0 Likes

sporran wrote:
lushmiester wrote:
More interesting than Cavendish going to BMC or any of the others current pro tour teams what if there was another UK based cycle squad targeting stages and classics not GC. Step up 'virgin cycling' now that would be an intriguing media tussle.

Endura Racing? Some good wins this year and ambitious plans for the future from what I've heard.

I reckon Cav's wages could be more than Endura's entire annual budget though...

Realistically, Cav at Sky was very convenient for everyone - both parties get some good PR, the british team get the british World Champ in their kit, Cav get support to change his whole regime aiming at the Olympics and Sky get a back-up plan in case Wiggo doesn't come good for the Tour. Then if Wiggo comes up trumps, Sky get some money back on Cav when another team buys his contract out, and Cav gets the new team to match his bulky Sky wages. No-one has really lost out (except Cav in the Olympic road race - but that's road racing!).

posted by step-hent [695 posts]
20th August 2012 - 15:21

3 Likes

andylul wrote:
The Mail? That well know paragon of cycling virtue and incisive pro-peloton knowledge?

I'm sure the only thing that will entice Cav to LeakyGas would be them sacking Sagan and building a team around him (and let's face it, so many have left LGC this season, that's a possibility)

Also mentioned in the Grauniad too, so not just the Daily Fail.

I don't see LeakyGas doing that, I think they'll build a team around Sagan who will develop into an excellent all rounder in a couple of years.

I don't see BMC being interested they're too GC focused and will aim to develop Van Gardaren as a future GC contender.

I suspect Omega-Pharma-Quick Step would be a good bet with no real GC contender in their ranks (sorry Sylvan) and no real big climbers or young riders to focus on.

posted by sam_smith [49 posts]
20th August 2012 - 16:26

3 Likes

The only logic to Cav going to Sky was it gave a boost to Brailsford having the World Champ for the Olympic year, everyone seemed to understand that oil and water don't mix very well, surprised Cav joined up, not surprised he's going.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [966 posts]
20th August 2012 - 21:29

2 Likes

Just reading a couple of the comments, I guess you guys didn't know that Liquigas won't be around next season? The team might be, But the sponsorship won't as they pull it at the end of the season Nerd

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8953 posts]
21st August 2012 - 3:22

2 Likes

Cav for Garmin? He could ride a rebadged spesh Smile

posted by kitkat [215 posts]
21st August 2012 - 16:18

3 Likes

step-hent wrote:
sporran wrote:
lushmiester wrote:
More interesting than Cavendish going to BMC or any of the others current pro tour teams what if there was another UK based cycle squad targeting stages and classics not GC. Step up 'virgin cycling' now that would be an intriguing media tussle.

Endura Racing? Some good wins this year and ambitious plans for the future from what I've heard.

I reckon Cav's wages could be more than Endura's entire annual budget though...

Realistically, Cav at Sky was very convenient for everyone - both parties get some good PR, the british team get the british World Champ in their kit, Cav get support to change his whole regime aiming at the Olympics and Sky get a back-up plan in case Wiggo doesn't come good for the Tour. Then if Wiggo comes up trumps, Sky get some money back on Cav when another team buys his contract out, and Cav gets the new team to match his bulky Sky wages. No-one has really lost out (except Cav in the Olympic road race - but that's road racing!).


Heh, no can't see Cav heading to Endura any time soon, but I think they can fulfil lushmiester's desire for a British squad targetting stages and the classics Smile

posted by sporran [39 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 8:57

2 Likes

Does anyone wonder if Cav's well-known preference for Specialized could put a spanner in the works of any BMC deal? Not exactly like there's any chance of them changing bikes.

Same goes for Liquigas/Team Cannondale. OPQ going to be the best fit for him I reckon.

posted by sporran [39 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 9:07

2 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Just reading a couple of the comments, I guess you guys didn't know that Liquigas won't be around next season? The team might be, But the sponsorship won't as they pull it at the end of the season Nerd

L'Equipe was reporting in June that Cannondale would become main sponsor with Liquigas secondary sponsor, giving us... Cannondale-Liquigas.

They're certainly signing riders for 2013, whichever name they end up with on the jersey.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8288 posts]
22nd August 2012 - 10:35

2 Likes