Monday, October 22, 2012
Here comes the Quickstepper!
Here's a sight you won't be seeing anymore - Mark Cavendish in the colours of Team Sky. A few days ago, Cav announced the news we've been expecting to hear for a long time: that he was quitting Team Sky and signing for the Belgian-based Omega Pharma-Quickstep, which is likely to be more conducive to his future sprinting ambitions. It's certainly a momentous change at this stage of Cavendish's cycling career as he is also leaving a couple of long-term key supports behind - his long-term sidekick and lead-out man Bernie Eisel is remaining at Team Sky, as is his coach Rod Ellingworth.
2012 was an unforgettable summer for British pro-cycling, topped by Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France win and Chris Froome's impressive TdF and Vuelta campaigns. But seeing Cavendish in the unfamiliar role of support act and domestique for Team Sky was not what we'd come to expect from the king of sprints, and the body language spoke volumes.
With hindsight, I was never too convinced by the Team Sky-Mark Cavendish partnership, although I was initially excited by the prospect of an all-star British team. However, the priorities of Team Sky appear to lie in the GC, the long haul and competition-crushing tactics rather than the quick burst to the finish line, and it's pretty understandable that Cav needed to move on to further his own career and perhaps leave a space on the team for a cyclist geared more to that kind of set-up. But that's not just a decision for a sprinter to make: all is well now, but how long till Chris Froome makes his way out of the Team Sky exit door? Or will he be happy to bide his time until he assumes the role of team leader?