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Mark Cavendish says attempts to create rivalry with Fabio Jakobsen are ‘lazy’

The Manx sprinter says that he will be cheering on Fabio Jakobsen at the Tour de France if he's unable to go.

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Mark Cavendish says that any media reporting on a rivalry between himself and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammate Fabio Jakobsen is “lazy.”

Riding on the same team since the start of last year, Cavendish and Jakobsen have been going up against each other for sprint opportunities at some of the biggest races, particularly this year’s Tour de France.

Speaking to Eurosport’s “Breakdown” podcast, Cavendish said that attempts to stoke a rivalry between himself and Jakobsen “scare” him and that he doesn’t want anything to come between them.

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“It’s an easy story to make, ‘am I or am I not going’ or ‘is my teammate going.’ It’s an easy story, but it’s quite a lazy story too because it’s that easy,” Cavendish told Eurosport. “Fabio and myself have supported each other so much over the last years, the last thing I want and the last thing he wants and the one thing that scares me about all of this is for any sort of rivalry to be created between us.

“We’ve been there for each other. I only know that from experience, from knowing what happens when the press wants to create a rivalry. It’s not really that nice. Unfortunately, it does start to cause friction and we’re not like that and we don’t want to be like that. I’m quite reluctant to talk about it because I don’t want to fall out with a mate because of something that is out of our control. What is in my control is not talking about it so that those outside influences that are out of my control can’t affect it.”

Cavendish is headed to the Giro d’Italia this month for the first time in almost a decade.

His selection for the Italian grand tour is a significant indication that he will not be going to the Tour de France and will have to wait at least another year before any attempt to break the record number of stage victories at the race.

Last year, Cavendish equaled Eddy Merckx’s longstanding record of 34 stage victories at the Tour de France. He finished third on the final stage on the Champs Élysées, meaning that he would need to come back to try and break the record.

Instead of Cavendish, it is likely to be Jakobsen that goes to the Tour de France in the summer, making his debut in the process. Cavendish said while some people would love to see him beat the stage win record, it doesn’t mean he’ll get a shot at it.

Meanwhile, there are others, he says, that want Jakobsen to go to the Tour just so he doesn’t have his chance.

“I really feel it, but there was that will in 2016 and I didn’t do the Tour for the next years after that. If I can win 50 more stages of the Tour, I want to win 50 more stages of the Tour. It doesn’t bother me,” Cavendish said. “At the same time, there are some people who want Fabio going to the Tour so that I’m not going to the Tour, not for Fabio to go.

“It’s a small demographic, but it’s a chip. It’s a small demographic that does the biggest thing. Whoever goes to the Tour, the other 22 [on the team] will be glued screaming at the TV, you can guarantee that. It’s not right that it’s made to be someone else’s narrative that isn’t that. It pisses me off in a way.”