Mark Cavendish’s Tour de France Ambitions Backed by Strong Astana Support Team

Tirreno Adriatico 2024 - 59th Edition - 5th stage Torricella Sicura - Valle Castellana 144 km - 08/03/2024 - Mark Cavendish (GBR - Astana Qazaqstan Team) - photo Ivan Benedetto/SprintCyclingAgency©2024

Mark Cavendish’s quest for the stage win record in this year’s Tour de France is supported by a solid lineup of riders, including Michael Mørkøv, who many regard as the best lead-out man in the world. On Monday, Astana Qazaqstan revealed the full team lineup, with Cavendish, a veteran with 34 Tour stage wins, as the focal point.

Cavendish, 39, will be joined by Mørkøv, his former teammate from QuickStep. Mørkøv played a crucial role in Cavendish’s last Tour victory in 2021. Also in the sprint train are Dutch sprinter Cees Bol, versatile Italian riders Davide Ballerini and Michele Gazzoli, and the former U23 World Champion Yevgeniy Fedorov.

The team also has strong contenders for mountain stage victories with Harold Tejada and Alexey Lutsenko. Lutsenko, who won on a summit finish in the Massif Centrale in 2020, and Tejada are expected to support Cavendish on hillier stages while also chasing their own ambitions. Lutsenko has twice finished in the top ten of the Tour’s General Classification.

Astana Qazaqstan has built a robust sprint train for Cavendish, a significant improvement from 2023 when he nearly won a stage before crashing out with a broken collarbone. Returning from last year’s squad are Cavendish, Bol, Lutsenko, Fedorov, and Tejada. New additions Mørkøv, Ballerini, and Gazzoli will provide extra support for Cavendish’s efforts.

Mark Renshaw, Cavendish’s former lead-out man, has been working behind the scenes to develop the sprint train and is named as one of the team’s sports directors for the Tour. Despite various stage opportunities, the main aim remains securing the record-breaking win during the six or seven sprint stages.

The first opportunity likely presents itself on stage 3, finishing in Turin on Monday, 1st July.

Astana Qazaqstan Tour de France 2024 Lineup

  • Davide Ballerini
  • Cees Bol
  • Mark Cavendish
  • Yevgeniy Fedorov
  • Michele Gazzoli
  • Alexey Lutsenko
  • Michael Mørkøv
  • Harold Tejada

Main photo credit: Sprint Cycling Agency

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