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Mark Cavendish ‘blew his chance’ of beating Eddy Merckx’s Tour de France record last year, says Holm

Quick-Step sports director thinks that Fabio Jakobsen would beat Mark Cavendish in two out of three sprints.

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Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sport director Brian Holm said that Mark Cavendish “blew his chance” to beat Eddy Merckx’s record number of Tour de France stage wins last year.

Cavendish came back from the brink in 2021 to win four stages at the Tour and equaled Merckx’s all-time mark of 34 wins.

The Manxman had the chance to better the Belgian’s record on the final stage into Paris last year, but was beaten to the line by Wout van Aert.

When asked if Quick-Step should support Cavendish’s quest to break the Merckx record in July, Holm was blunt.

“For sure if you could choose it, but there’s always a ‘but.’ You can’t say that if Cav goes he wins a stage. Nothing is granted,” Holm told Flobikes. “He would have made his own life a bit more easy if he had won on the Champs Élysées. He got quite a good chance last year on the Champs Élysées and he blew it. That’s life.”

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The quotes come from a recent interview between Holm and Gregor Brown from Flobikes in Denmark, where the Tour de France will start in July.

According to Holm, who will ultimately not make the final call on the Tour team and is a close friend of Cavendish, last year was the sprinter’s golden chance to take the record.

The comments come as speculation builds on whether or not Cavendish will be tapped to race the Tour.

The Belgian outfit looks likely to take Fabio Jakobsen, the Dutch sprinter who is under contract through 2023. Quick-Step team boss Patrick Lefevere said there’s an official decision yet on who will race the Tour.

The Danish director added that Jakobsen would probably win two out of three sprints against Cavendish if the pair went head-to-head.

Cavendish is currently racing the Giro d’Italia and won a stage already. He has talked about training as though he were going to the Tour, and while he and Jakobsen seemingly get on well both on and off the bike, it’s likely that Quick-Step will only take one sprinter to the Tour.

Holm hinted that age and the long-term future of the team are also considerations to factor in, especially considering that Cavendish is 37 and out of contract this year, while Jakobsen is 25 and is already tied down for 2023.

“It would be slightly difficult because Cav signed with Quick-Step, who have got Fabio Jakobsen, and that isn’t easy for him,” Holm said. “Fabio is the future of Quick-Step, and for sure Cavendish he could win and he could probably beat the record of Eddy Merckx.

“I think it’s a professional team and if they sprint three times, I think Fabio wins maybe two of them. I think most [teams] would take Fabio.”