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Mark Cavendish talks crises and contracts in new autobiography
Mark Cavendish has unloaded on depression, illness, lost faith, and a love of Quick-Step in his new autobiography, “Tour de force: My history-making Tour de France.”
Extracts published in The Times on Saturday also give stark insights into Cavendish’s relationships with his former Dimension Data manager Doug Ryder and long-time sidekick Rod Ellingworth as the “Manxman” chews over a turbulent few years.
“A 2017 season wiped out by Epstein-Barr virus, the realization in 2018 that I’d never been given time to recover, a team manager I despised, clinical depression — a straight-from-the-cookbook, easy-to-follow recipe for total disintegration,” Cavendish wrote.
“I can’t claim to have been in a worse position than lots of other people in the last few years, especially since COVID hit … However, I’ve been through real hell in recent years. People who were always there for me disappeared. Even Rod, the guy who was my confidante for 20 years, stopped believing in me.”
Cavendish explained that a contract with Deceuninck-Quick-Step rescued his career. The 36-year-old said he was made offers by a number of teams when his deal with Bahrain-McLaren expired, but his heart was in Belgium.
“To each [offer] I replied with a variation on the same message: I really appreciated them wanting me, but I needed to speak to Patrick [Lefevere, Quick-Step boss],” he wrote. “I realized, whatever soul-searching had taken place over the previous few hours had brought me to a stark conclusion: it was either Patrick and Deceuninck-Quick-Step or I stopped racing.”
Cavendish and Lefevere are currently in talks to extend Cavendish’s contract, which is currently supported by personal sponsors.
Elia Vivani and Elena Cecchini to marry
Italy has a new sporting super-couple.
Elia Viviani and Elena Cecchini confirmed Friday they are to be married. The two Italian pros are believed to have been together for the best part of a decade.
“An endless kiss. She said yes,” Viviani wrote on his social media post.
The news comes as a part of a new chapter for Vivani, who will be returning to Ineos Grenadiers in 2022 after previously racing for Team Sky from 2015-2017. The 32-year-old struggled for results on the road during his two years with Team Cofidis, but he did bag the first-ever rainbow jersey in the track world championship elimination race last month.
Former Italian road race champion Ceccini will return for her second season with SD Worx next year. She is 29 years old.
Quick-Step, Ineos, ISN among nine teams set for Vuelta a San Juan
Vuelta a San Juan is set to welcome a record nine WorldTour teams to Argentina next January.
The cancelation of the Tour Colombia, the Tour Down Under and the wider Australian summer of cycling makes the eight-stage Vuelta a San Juan the first major stage race of the year, so increasing the interest from leading teams looking for early racing.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, Israel Start-Up Nation, Ineos Grenadiers and Movistar are among the top-flight teams confirmed for the race, which kick-starts the season January 30. Organizers have previously confirmed that Peter Sagan will also be making his debut with ProTeam TotalEnergies.
The UAE Tour will open up the WorldTour on February 20 while the classics get rolling at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad the following weekend.
WorldTour teams for Vuelta a San Juan:
- Quick- Step Alpha Vinyl
- Lotto Soudal
- Israel Start-Up Nation
- Ineos Grenadiers
- Astana Qazaqstan