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Former Tour de France winner and now television pundit Bradley Wiggins believes that not a single rider on Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl deserves a spot at this year’s race ahead of Mark Cavendish.
The defending green jersey, and joint record holder of the most Tour stage wins, is set to miss out on a spot in Patrick Lefevere’s eight-man team when the squad is announced next week. Fabio Jakobsen is predicted to take the sprinter place on the team after Cavendish raced the Giro d’Italia in May. Cavendish won a stage in the Giro but Jakobsen has been a consistent winner all year. He is also contracted to the team for next year, while Cavendish’s future remains unclear at this point.
“My assumption is that Mark’s probably not going,” Wiggins said in a press conference on Thursday.
“Patrick knows what he’s doing but from a personal point of view it would be a real shame if Cavendish is not there.”
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Cavendish’s career looked over in 2020 but Lefevere resurrected his career and gave him a shot at the start of 2021. Cavendish repaid that faith in kind with four stage wins and the green jersey to tie with Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins.
“We’ve not got the argument that he shouldn’t go based on what he did last year and any other team would be crazy not to bring him to the Tour,” Wiggins added.
“He’s just won a stage in the Giro and I do find it hard, aside from the personal relationship that I have with him, if I look at it from a performance point of view, as to why you wouldn’t take him as part of a sponsor point of view, the impact that he has on the rest of the team, and the fact that he won four stages and the green jersey last year. Why wouldn’t you take the defending green jersey back to the team? I can’t see anyone in that team who would merit going ahead of him. It’s a strange thing.”