In the world of cycling, a wave of speculation has swelled regarding the future of Britain’s revered cyclist Mark Cavendish. The Astana-Qazaqstan team member, currently competing in the Giro d’Italia, has scheduled a press briefing for Monday, intended to discuss his forthcoming engagements for the season.
Sunday saw Cavendish marking his 38th birthday in the midst of the Italian race. As per a recent report in Gazetta dello Sport, Cavendish is anticipated to declare his retirement from professional cycling at the close of the current season.
Cavendish, the illustrious Olympic silver medallist who began his tenure with Astana earlier this year, expressed his ambition to clinch one more stage victory in the Tour de France. This would propel him past the legendary Eddy Merckx, whose record he equalled in 2021 with 34 wins, a number unmatched in the history of the sport.
As mentioned in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Cavendish’s imminent retirement is likely to be declared during the rest day of the Giro d’Italia on Monday. This would conclude his impressive 17-year tenure in the professional peloton.
Despite his impending retirement, the Manxman still aims to participate in the Tour de France this July. His ambition: to secure a record-breaking 35th stage win, thereby superseding the iconic Eddy Merckx in terms of the highest number of Tour stage victories. Beyond this point, Cavendish’s participation in future races remains a matter of conjecture.
Despite a dramatic crash at the finish line during stage five, and placing third behind Pascal Ackermann and Jonathan Milan on stage 11, Cavendish perseveres in the Giro d’Italia.
His journey during the off-season was marked by uncertainty as he grappled with finding a new team after Soudal-QuickStep decided against renewing his contract. A glimmer of hope appeared in January when he inked a deal with Astana Qazaqstan.
In a triumphant return, Cavendish reclaimed his prowess upon signing for Deceuninck-QuickStep, culminating in four triumphant stages at the 2021 Tour de France, thereby equalling Merckx’s 34 career stage victories.
With a burning desire to shatter this record, Cavendish’s career is undeniably one of the most illustrious in the annals of professional cycling. By most measures, he stands as the sport’s greatest sprinter and has the distinct honour of being the British Isles’ most victorious cyclist.
Cavendish’s career achievements are an impressive tally of 161 wins, featuring victories at Milan-Sanremo, the 2011 World Championships, and stages at both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.