Mark Cavendish has opened up about his emotional interview following Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, when he was seen in tears saying that it could have been his last race, the Bahrain-McLaren rider explaining that there was uncertainty in the peloton over whether today’s Scheldeprijs, which he is riding, might be cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.
> Mark Cavendish in tears after Gent-Wevelgem: “That’s perhaps the last race of my career” (+ video)
Speaking to the Belgian broadcaster Sporza before the start of today’s race, Cavendish said: “I was emotional … there were rumours at the start of the race that the rest of the races were going to be cancelled.
“Obviously Belgium, the government had a meeting on Monday about the restrictions over coronavirus.
“I don’t have next year sorted yet and it dawned on me, it could be the last race of the season, and potentially my career.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve, I always do, and especially here in Belgium, you know.
“Here at Scheldeprijs was my first win as a professional, and I was looking forward to this race and I was enjoying racing in Belgium.
“I love the Belgian people, I love the racing, it’s pure racing, it’s like when I was a kid again.”
The 35-year-old is on a one-year contract with Bahrain-McLaren and while team principal Rod Ellingworth has said that negotiations are continuing regarding an extension, no agreement has been reached as yet.
Cavendish said that due to that uncertainty, and “with maybe the possibility that the next races weren’t carrying on,” his reaction on Sunday was due to “suddenly realising that it could be my last race.”
He continued: “I don’t have a desire to stop, I don’t want to stop … I love this sport, I give my life to this sport, and I’d like to continue riding my bike. That’s it, really.”
When it was put to Cavendish that the past few years had been very difficult for him, he replied that it’s “relative,” saying that “80 per cent of bike riders don’t win a race in their career. I’m fortunate, I’m looked at, if I don’t win it’s a problem.
“But in 2016, I made a jump to give something back to the sport, I worked with the charity Qhubeka using what I’ve done in the sport to give back to the sport I love, to see it grow in the UK, to see kids riding, to see people ride and loving the sport like this.
“I know there’s more than winning to give to the sport, of course I want to win, but unfortunately it’s how it is, if I’m second it’s looked on as bad, if another rider is second, it’s looked on as good, possibly.”
Turning to the future, he said: “We’ll see what happens, but it’s nice to be here at Scheldeprijs … to see the race go on, I’m super happy to be here.”
Cavendish has taken part in the race on five previous occasions, winning in 2007, 2008 and 2011 and runner-up twice since then.
Due to COVID-19 containment measures and the fact the race could not start in the Netherlands as originally envisaged, it is being held on 10 laps of a 17.3-kilometre circuit entirely in Belgium and with fans urged to stay at home and watch on TV.
Today, as on Sunday, Cavendish is in the break and has led the eight-strong escape group across the line on pretty much every lap so far – a sign, perhaps, that if this is to be his last race, he will go out in the spotlight, with Sonny Colbrelli potentially the team’s designated rider to contest the near-certain bunch sprint finish.
"If JSO's aims were actually achievable in a significantly different timescale to the current legally mandated one I'd support their cause"...
Perhaps some politicians are indifferent or even against their own policies. They're merely doing it to get votes or for some other reason.
Hi Beanpole and Stu. I'm tempted but I ride endurance bikes - think BMC Roadmachine, Giant Defy, Cannondale Synapse - and I'm wondering if the...
Also makes me wonder about customers awaiting orders and things like gift cards.
"There is no way to prosecute a [cyclist] who might run into somebody else"...
Why don't you ever have anything to say for yourself? You're like the snotty little kid who follows the school bully around and gets a kick in once...
You're right. They shouldn't be forced to. . This isn't China / Russia / Nazi Germ, etc, etc, etc. . Freedom is scary: deal with it. .
It's 'monopattino' rather than 'monopiattini'. 'Piatto' is a plate, as in dinner plate. Or flat as in the 'land is flat'...
This reads like - billionaire takes up cycling after retirement, goes to visits venerable bike seller in Italy to buy a bike, but buys the company...
A long time ago I had two seasons racing Belgium - the Campagnolo super record setup I used worked perfectly all the time - it was just my legs...