Cavendish had hinted at calling it quits during May’s Giro d’Italia, but with unwavering determination, he’s preparing for his 18th season.
After a challenging recovery from a fractured collarbone, Cavendish will soon mark his return at the Tour of Turkey, scheduled from October 8-15.
Announcing their vision, Astana Qazaqstan shared on social media, “It’s not over yet,” accompanying a video montage spotlighting Cavendish’s iconic Tour de France moments.
Delving deeper into his decision to push forward, Cavendish remarked, “I spoke to the kids and I said, ‘What should dad do?’ They said, ‘Carry on’. So, here we are – just one more year, hey?”
— Astana Qazaqstan Team (@AstanaQazTeam) October 4, 2023
He also added some context to his previous inclination towards retirement: “Well, I guess that was me done this year. I announced my retirement. I was looking forward to not having to get up and train… but the more I’ve ridden this summer I just love riding my bike.”
While 2023 saw him join the Kazakhstani team and achieve a commendable victory in the Giro d’Italia’s final stage, a subsequent injury during the Tour de France shifted the narrative. The ensuing speculation about his career path was widespread.
Astana’s manager, Alexander Vinokourov, was quick to offer support. “We’d like Mark to continue in 2024 and race his 15th Tour de France to win that 35th stage,” he mentioned shortly after the Tour incident.
Vinokourov further elucidated the team’s standpoint, “I believe that a true champion should not end his career this way… I think Mark thought about it seriously; it’s not easy to reconsider the decision already made, but in the end, Mark agreed, and he will spend 2024 as a rider of Astana Qazaqstan Team.”
Astana Qazaqstan is solidifying its roster to back Cavendish robustly. Key acquisitions such as Max Kanter from Movistar and Davide Ballerini from Soudal-QuickStep highlight their commitment. Michael Mørkøv, esteemed for his top-notch lead-outs, is reportedly considering a move, stating to Ekstra Bladet, “Astana is a possibility. A good possibility. It hasn’t been decided yet, so I can’t answer that.”
With Cavendish’s relentless spirit and Astana Qazaqstan’s strategic bolstering, we cannot wait for the 2024 season to start.