Cavendish joins Astana
The Kazakh squad will be the team that will give Mark Cavendish the chance to break Eddy Merckx's record of stage wins in the Tour de France. The British rider manages to find a door after his failed move to the French team B&B Hotels, which disappears after not getting the necessary sponsors to cover the budget for 2023.
Mark Cavendish's future becomes clearer
Mark Cavendish's case is resolved after his turbulent departure from QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl when he was excluded from the Tour de France team, and the disastrous outcome suffered by the B&B Hotels team that seemed to be his destiny. Miguel Angel Lopez's farewell a few days ago has left the door open for the Isle of Man rider to join Alexandr Vinoukurov's team.
The news, in the absence of official confirmation, was reported yesterday in the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta, indicating that Astana mechanics at the team's training camp in the Alicante town of Calpe were already preparing a bike for Cavendish, who was set to travel to Spain to join the team today.
Finally, Cavendish will continue in a World Tour team, this guarantees him the option to participate in the next Tour de France, so he will have again the option to surpass the record of stage victories in the Grand Boucle, classification in which he is tied with the great Eddy Merckx with 34 victories.
In the signing of Mark Cavendish, the Willier bike brand, which equips Astana, played a vital role. After Vincenzo Nibali's retirement from cycling, the Rossano Veneto-based company was looking for a new point of reference for the promotion of its bicycles. When the possibility of incorporating Cavendish was put on the table, the brand guaranteed financial support for it to be carried out, so the negotiations have been brief and fruitful.
Although Astana is not a team focused on supporting a sprinter, it has quality cyclists in the squad who can perform that function in the legs of riders such as Luis León Sánchez, Boaro, Gruzev, Batistella or Moscon, although in his last few seasons, Mark has shown himself to be a much more mature and versatile rider, capable of winning on a wider range of stages, as he demonstrated with the spectacular victory that brought him the national title.