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Mark Cavendish spotted with Astana Qazaqstan car at Alicante airport

Cycling's most protracted transfer saga appears to be nearing an end.....

Can anyone remember life before the 'who will Mark Cavendish sign for' days?

It seems like we've spent half our lives waiting for the Manx Missile to sign for first B&B Hotels-KTM and then Astana Qazaqstan after the former folded due to a lack of sponsorship.

> Is that Cav on a Wilier? British champion 'spotted' in Spain riding Astana-liveried bike

There have been sponsor event attendance rumours, Instagram messages from Paris and grainy pictures of a possible British national champ's jersey riding a Wilier, but now we have the clearest evidence yet of Cavendish's new team...

The picture comes courtesy of former CyclingTips Editor-in-Chief Caley Fretz, who has since started a new podcast called The Placeholders, after a source of his spotted the recognisable face apparently loading up an Astana Qazaqstan team car with luggage at Alicante airport.

And while a great big vehicle plastered in team logos might not be the most inconspicuous transport for the yet to be announced signing, the consensus in the cycling world since before Christmas has been that Cav has already agreed a deal with the team.

The rumour mill was sparked by team boss Alexandre Vinokourov's comments after B&B Hotels folded... "I thought about Mark right away. I gave him a phone call saying if he was free then we could talk. It's true he's what? 35 or 36? (37) But what really matters is if he's motivated. I won the Olympic Games when I was nearing 40.

Mark Cavendish at Gran Torino 2022 (copyright Simon MacMichael)

"He was the favourite that day, and maybe it was me who stopped him from getting his title of 'Sir'. But now there's the chance of breaking the record in the number of Tour wins."

Cavendish was not seen in the team's presentation nor team photo released at the start of 2023, likely due to it being taken at a training camp before he was linked to the team.

It is also unclear what, if any, impact the ongoing trial of men accused of robbing Cavendish's family home in Essex in November 2021 has had on the timing of any potential announcement.

Last week, a court heard that masked robbers punched Cavendish and threatened to "stab him up" in front of his children during the raid, while the sprinter and his wife Peta have given evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court in the past ten days.

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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Freddy56 | 1 year ago
1 like

Love to see him at le Tour in June 

mark1a replied to Freddy56 | 1 year ago


mark1a replied to Freddy56 | 1 year ago
Freddy56 wrote:

Love to see him at le Tour in June 

We're most likely to see him at Le Tour in July, which is when it starts. 

Rendel Harris replied to mark1a | 1 year ago

Obviously referring to the 2024 edition...

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