Quick-Step confirms Mark Cavendish and Fabio Jakobsen have to earn Tour de France spot: ‘Let’s see who’s going fastest’
Sport director Brian Holm insists that 'nothing is sure' for Belgian powerhouse about choosing Tour de France sprinter.
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Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sport director Brian Holm said “nothing is sure” when it comes to whether Mark Cavendish or Fabio Jakobsen will race the Tour de France.
The team’s two speedsters are in a heated battle to secure the nod for the 2022 Tour, and team brass are willing to wait before deciding who will race behind the team’s powerful lead-out train.
“Nothing is sure,” Holm told VeloNews. “First on the list is Fabio, because Cav signed quite late. So for the Tour, Fabio is on the list and now Cav is back, so let’s see who is going fastest.”
Those comments to VeloNews are the latest confirmation that despite some widespread media reports the team is not yet fully decided on who will race the Tour.
Cavendish silenced any would-be critics Monday with an emphatic win at the UAE Tour, good for his second victory in the early days of 2022.
Cavendish’s hot start only serves to raise question marks about his prospects of returning to the Tour de France, and possibly breaking the Eddy Merckx stage-win record later this summer.
With teammate Jakobsen also lighting up the lanes with four wins already, speculation is building that the Dutch rider is first in line to race the Tour de France this summer.
Also read: Cavendish kicks to victory in WorldTour opener
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sport director Brian Holm, however, insists nothing is yet decided.
Speaking to VeloNews, Holm confirmed that both Jakobsen and Cavendish will be considered for the Tour.
On paper, Jakobsen will see his chances to prove himself and even more so because, in part, the Dutch rider has a contract for 2023, but Holm insisted the team will pick the fastest rider.
Jakobsen is slated to race Paris-Nice and then a full classics program, while Cavendish is eyeing a return to the Giro d’Italia.
VeloNews spoke to Holm about the Tour de France selection, his long relationship with Cavendish, and why he wasn’t surprised to see him win again.
VN: What is the situation with the Tour de France? Some media reports suggest Jakobsen is already in. Is there no chance that Cavendish will go to the Tour de France?
Brian Holm: Nothing is sure. First on the list is Fabio, because Cav signed quite late with Patrick. For a moment there, we thought he would quit. I am not his manager so I don’t know everything that is going on. So for the Tour, Fabio is on the list and now Cav is back, so let’s see who is going fastest.
I think it’s good for our team that we Cav, because if not, we would have Mørkøv now at the UAE Tour as our sprinter. For our team, we need two fast men minimum to win some races.
Also read: Jakobsen’s streak dims Cavendish’s chances
So for the Tour, we’ll see. First we have Fabio, and if he is absolutely flying, it might be Fabio. But looked what happened to Bennett last year, no one expected that.
With Cav, one thing we do know is never lose faith in him. As long as you have faith in him, Cav can win. But it’s the same with Fabio. He has a special head, too.
VN: How big of a surprise was it for you to see Cavendish return to the Tour de France and win four stages?
BH: I already said last year that Cavendish would win something. At first, everyone thought Bennett would go, and no one was even dreaming about it. But I said all season that Cav would get back to a grand tour and win something, but we were thinking the Giro or Vuelta.
The whole Bennett story, I could have not have imagined that happening, it was weird that everything happened like it did. Suddenly Cav was in.
But four stages and the green? Not in five million years. I did not see that coming.
VN: You worked with Cavendish for a long time, so you had a hunch that he wasn’t done yet when he joined the team last year?
BH: That is the magic of cycling. It’s one of the biggest comebacks in cycling.
He was always there, and I always knew something was wrong. There is no way you can win 30 stages in the Tour de France, and suddenly disappear, not in modern cycling.
I knew there was something behind it. It could have been something in his own mind. With Cav, it could have been something wrong with his helmet or the muesli, because when he gets annoyed with something, it can kill him. He fell down into a big black hole. The biggest problem was the Eppstein-Barr, and that really killed him mentally as well. All of that together.
VN: When was the first indication you saw that Cavendish still could win?
BH: We knew that if we had a strong Cavendish again, he could win. On the training camp last year, we could see he was going good. His trainer said he had very good numbers. He was on a good path. Then he wins one race and then another. And then he’s back in the Tour. Once he’s there, he knows what to do.
VN: Cavendish refuses to talk about the Merckx record, but surely he must be chasing it?
BH: He always said to me he doesn’t think about it, he doesn’t care, but I don’t believe him. Since he doesn’t want to talk about it, it’s normal, but when you’re at that age, and if your bank account is full, what are you going for? Records.
Also, if it doesn’t happen, it’s almost more cool to have the same number as Eddy Merckx than to have one more. Because then you think more about it. Then you can say, I won the same amount of stages as the great Eddy Merckx.
I also know he has a lot of respect for Eddy, so if he doesn’t beat the record, he’s fine with that.