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by Shane Stokes
September 29, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos
The long-rumoured transfer of Mark Cavendish to the MTN-Qhubeka/Team Dimension Data setup has been confirmed Tuesday, with the Briton aiming to add to his 26 Tour stage wins with the squad.
“I’m super excited about becoming a part of the Team for 2016. It is a team that I have watched closely as it has grown, especially over this season and been really impressed with the spirit, strength and dynamics of the group,” he said.
Cavendish has been with the Etixx – Quick-Step team for the past three seasons and is now seeking a fresh start. He’s hoping to get back to the point where he can take multiple Tour stages, and believes the setup is the one that can help him do it.
“It’s fair to say that most of the peloton has seen how incredible the Team raced this year,” he said, referring to MTN-Qhubeka’s Tour debut and also its performances in other events.
“To join it with the target of helping to win even more races with other strong, experienced household cycling names like Mark Renshaw, Edvald Boasson-Hagen, Tyler Farrar, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Steve Cummings and of course Bernie Eisel is going to be real special, as well as assisting the talent of the young, African riders to top level success.”
The team is managed by Douglas Ryder. He recognises the significance of the signing, a three-year deal.
“Mark Cavendish joining our Team is a huge step forward for the team as we strive to get to the next level in world cycling,” he said. “To also integrate Mark Renshaw and Bernie Eisel is a game changer in terms of performance and experience, which, added to the incredible talent we already have in the team opens up many possibilities for us.”
Renshaw and Eisel both backed Cavendish with the HTC Highroad setup, the most successful period of his career, and he believes that their backing plus that of the other riders already with the team will give him one of the best sprint trains.
He took a spate of Tour wins earlier in his career but his momentum has slowed slightly in recent seasons. He crashed out on day one of the 2014 Tour and had to be content with one stage victory in 2015.
The new beginning with Team Dimension Data is one he hopes will enable him to regularly beat riders such as Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.
The latter duo have taken a total of 12 stage wins between them in the past three years.
Performances aside, Cavendish said that the team’s charity connections are also an draw for him.
“For me personally, one of the biggest incentives is riding for a greater cause in the Qhubeka charity. I’m really looking forward to having a successful year on the road alongside the other guys and helping directly to get more bikes in the hands of people who need them.”
Also see: Kelly: A change of scene might be just what Cavendish needs