Kelly: A change of scene might be just what Cavendish needs

by Shane Stokes


Responding to the announcement Tuesday that Mark Cavendish will compete with the Team Dimension Data squad from 2016, Sean Kelly has said that the move could potentially reinvigorate the Briton’s career.

While time will ultimately prove how successful the move will be, Kelly said that if things had stagnated with Etixx – Quick-Step then exiting could be the best step.

“Sometimes there can be a lack of motivation in a team…you get a bit stale when things are not going well,” he told CyclingTips.

“You know you are not going to be getting [signing] a new contract when you are not getting what you have [earned] already. If a team wants to take down your contract, that doesn’t help your motivation as a rider. So that could be part of it as well.

“Who knows? Next year you could see Cavendish perhaps come back to sprinting real well. A change of colour, a change of scene, a change of people might be what he needs.”

Cavendish is the most successful sprinter in recent decades, clocking up a staggering 26 stage wins in the Tour de France and also taking numerous other successes. He took 14 victories this season.

His Tour win rate has however slowed over time. He notched up four wins in 2008, six in 2009, five in 2010 and 2011, three in 2012, two in 2013, none in 2014 [he crashed out on stage one] and one in 2015.

He’s still only 30, though, three years younger than Andre Greipel who clocked up four stage wins this year.

If Cavendish can indeed step things up back up in the race, many more Tour stage wins could lie ahead.

Kelly does have one concern about the move: he believes that Cavendish’s new squad, the team currently known as MTN-Qhubeka, likely doesn’t have the same firepower as his current setup.

“A change might be good for him but he is not going to a team like Etixx – Quick-Step,” the former world number one noted.

“I am not sure if Mark Cavendish had a lot of choice, that is the problem as well. When you look at the teams, as a sprinter…it is not always easy to get into a team because a lot of the teams have their sprinters already.

“They [Etixx – Quick-Step] would have a better team for him in his leadout sprints. That would be certain, as they have some powerful and real serious guys there for the final. In the final ten, 15 kilometres they can do that.

“Where is going now he will have leadout men, but he is not going to have as many of them.”

The news of Cavendish’s signing came with confirmation that current and former leadout riders Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel will also transfer across with him.

In addition to that, he will join current MTN-Qhubeka riders Edvald Boasson Hagen, who previously raced with him at HTC Highroad, plus Tyler Farrar.

The team also has a number of other very fast riders, although the full 2016 lineup is yet to be confirmed.

More details of the roster for next season are expected to be confirmed shortly.

The team competed in its first Tour de France in 2015, netting a stage with Steve Cummings. It is likely to stay a Pro Continental team next season but a repeat invitation to the French race seems almost guaranteed.

Also see: Cavendish ‘super excited’ to join Team Dimension Data, Renshaw and Eisel also confirmed

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