A recent tweet by former UCI president, Brian Cookson sparked some interest. His thoughts were, if it was to be Mark Cavendish’s last year on the bike, why doesn’t he focus all efforts on Tokyo 2021 and sign off in style?
Pusher of Pedals has since understood that Mark Cavendish did, indeed, try and get to Tokyo by riding for Team HUUB Wattbike.
In order to qualify for a track cycling event at Tokyo there are certain boxes which need to be ticked. Cavendish would have to have ridden a World Cup to be eligible for a World Championships and then, further, ride in the World Championships to gain eligibility for Tokyo.
It’s understood that “Team GB didn’t want to help him out so, independently, he approached HUUB Wattbike to ride a World Cup in Brisbane. The timescales didn’t quite work and the UCI didn’t want to make any dispensation for Cavendish.” A source has told Pusher of Pedals.
Cavendish is 34 now and after retracting his comment he made at Gent-Wevelgem being his last race by stating his desire to keep racing at Scheldeprijs, “It was a lot of emotion, there were a lot of rumors that the rest of the races were going to be canceled,” Cavendish said. “I don’t have next year sorted yet, so it dawned on me it could be the last race on the season, and potentially my career. I always wear my heart on my sleeve, I always have.”
It now seems a little too late for Mark Cavendish to be riding at Tokyo, even though the Olympic Games have been delayed until 2021. From our source it was understood that “Mark wanted to ride in the Omnium and the Madison and whether his idea was then to retire, I don’t know.” It does seem that the only thing the 30 time Tour de France stage winner is missing off his long list of achievements is a gold medal at the Olympic Games. “Mark had a box ticking exercise to carry out to be eligible for Tokyo, it seems as if HUUB Wattbike was a means to tick that box.”
What happens next for Cav seems to be shrouded in mystery, with Mark himself stating that he wants to finish the season off and then focus on a ride for next year. In a podcast just recently Sir Bradley Wiggins has wading in asking for Sir Dave Brailsford to give Cavendish one more year with Team INEOS to sign off on a high. Wiggins said “It’s not the exit from the sport for a man who’s achieved what he’s achieved, it’s not the exit we all want to see. We want to see him go out on a high. No one really expected it either, he never stated this was going to be his last year.” Continuing “I’m worried he won’t get what he deserves because it is the way it is and it’s full of ****s and someone’s got to step in. Brailsford, come on! Sign him for INEOS for another year.”
Dan Bigham from HUUB Wattbike said “It definitely would have been possible for Cav to ride for us to help his qualification towards Tokyo. We always welcome those who need a hand in achieving their goals. It would obviously have had to be on the proviso that he was Jacob Tipper’s lead out man, which is fair enough I think.”
Few people are lucky enough to be able to chose the way their career ends, for now Mark Cavendish’s future still remains unclear.
Pusher of Pedals has asked Mark Cavendish for comment.