Cavendish at a crossroads, Quick-Step gets win no. 60: Daily News Digest

by CyclingTips

Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Mark Cavendish was once the world’s fastest sprinter and seemed to be unbeatable. But no one can beat Father Time and after a dreadful season filled with sickness and injury, Cavendish has a decision to make — retire, accept less money, or switch teams. Plus, Quick-Step Floors continued its red-hot season with victories at both the Vuelta a Espana and Tour of Britain, the 59th and 60th of the year for the Belgian-based squad.

Story of the day: Cavendish has a decision to make

Mark Cavendish’s future is very much in doubt as the 2018 season winds down. The 30-time Tour de France stage winner suffered a concussion at the Abu Dhabi Tour early in the season and subsequently crashed at Tirenno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo. He was also time cut at the Tour for the first time in his career and news has surfaced that he has had a recurrence of Epstein-Barr virus.

On top of all this, the Manx Missile’s contract expires at the end of the year and many questions have been raised over the last couple of days about whether he will resign with Dimension Data, retire, or ride for another team next year. CyclingTips sought clarification from Team Dimension Data last week; a team spokesman gave little details away.

“We have a number of riders contracts up at the end of this season including Mark Cavendish,” he said. “We hope to have news on some renewals in the near future.” Pressed as to whether Cavendish was potentially one of those renewals, he said that the team wouldn’t confirm that point.

Mark Cavendish clipped a barrier coming out of a roundabout at Milano-SanRemo and crashed heavily. It was the third race in-a-row he went down. Photo: Cor Vos

According to Het Nieuwsblad, the team is apparently offering Cavendish a contract, but at a reduction of 40% off the agreed terms he originally signed on for when he first joined the squad. His first season with the team was a success, with the Manxman winning four stages in the 2016 Tour de France and taking a silver medal in the omnium at the Rio Olympics.

The newspaper claims that Team Sky is also open to offering him a contract, but that it would not give Cavendish the opportunity to ride the Tour de France. One of Cavendish’s biggest goals is to match or exceed Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stages. He’s currently four off that title and needs to both recover from the virus and also secure a contract with a solid team to achieve that.

Tweet of the day

American cyclocross star Ellen Noble is not afraid to speak her mind and she took to Twitter to let her fans and others know that she’s done with people criticizing her bunny hopping technique over the social media platform.

Race Radio

Viviani comes out of Vuelta rest day flying, wins stage 10

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) has been in a class of his own among the sprinters this season and his prowess was on full display in Spain on Tuesday. He captured his second win of the 2018 Vuelta a Espana in Fermoselle. The win is number 17 this year for the Italian and his sixth grand tour stage win this year as well after he claimed four stages at the Giro d’Italia.

World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) rounded out the stage podium.

Alaphilippe wins taxing stage in Britain

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) has been a force to be reckoned with this season and sprinted to his ninth victory of the year at the Tour of Britain in Bristol on Tuesday. The Frenchman’s other victories in 2018 include Fleche Wallonne, two stages and the King of the Mountains classification at the Tour de France, and Clásica de San Sebastián.

Alaphilippe took the victory over BMC Racing’s Patrick Bevin. Bevin took the lead in the general classification from former ace leader Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF). Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) began the day sitting second overall tied on time with Tonelli and did finish with the lead group. However, Bevin took the race lead due to time bonuses and Meyer is still second overall at the same time as the new race leader.

Neil Stephens leaves Mitchelton-Scott

Director Sportif Neil Stephens and Mitchelton-Scott have parted ways. According to multiple reports, Stephens has been spotted at the Vuelta a Espana, but is there in no official compacity with Mitchelton-Scott.

Stephens has made the Basque part of Spain his home and has led the charge for Mitchelton-Scott at the Spanish grand tour in recent years. He had been a director with the Australian-based team since it began in 2012.

“After pondering it a lot, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll have to say goodbye to Mitchelton Scott’s cycling team,” Stephens said in a letter according to Mundo Deportivo. “All good things end and, in my case, it’s time to look for a new challenge.

“In the last eight years, my family and I have enjoyed being part of the Greenedge group and I have nothing negative to say about this period, but with time we mature and our philosophies can change. Possibly on some issues, the team and I did not agree, so I think it is better that we continue on separate paths. In closing, I must express my sincere gratitude to the Ryan family for allowing us all to follow our dreams.”

Neil Stephens has been a staple of the Australian GreenEdge program since the beginning. Here, he has a laugh with Simon Gerrans at the 2013 Tour de France. Photo: Cor Vos

Moving Pictures

Vuelta a Espana stage 10 highlights

Tour of Britain stage 3 highlights

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