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Mark Cavendish to continue racing in 2024, reports suggest

The 38-year-old had announced his intention to retire at the end of this season before crashing out of the Tour de France

It seems Mark Cavendish will be having one more crack at the Tour de France, and the Eddy Merckx stage wins record we're not allowed to talk about, in 2024, reports suggesting that a deal with Astana Qazaqstan to continue until at least next summer's race is all but confirmed.

There have been whispers, and other not-so-quiet rumours, that Cavendish would postpone his retirement following the unsatisfying finale that was crashing out of what was meant to be his final Tour without winning a stage.

> Mark Cavendish's Tour de France bikes through the years — from Scott to Specialized, every bike the Manx Missile won his 34 Tour stages on

Now, the Dutch newspaper AD is reporting a deal to extend his Astana contract is almost done, an "agreement reached", with the parties just now negotiating image rights and other minor parts of the contract.

Mark Cavendish at Tour de France 2023 (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

[Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com]

"Without cycling he would be lost in space," a source told the newspaper. Last night, Velo too reported similar, a source telling reporters there that it is "99.9 per cent" certain Cavendish would not retire as he had announced during this year's Giro d'Italia.

There have been rumours from Denmark too, where TV2 on Monday reported a further piece of the puzzle, Cavendish's former leadout man Michael Mørkøv, who piloted the Manx Missile to four stage wins at the 2021 Tour, is expected to join Astana for next season from Soudal Quick-Step.

> Mark Cavendish's top 10 greatest Tour de France stage wins

Cavendish has not raced since stage eight of this year's Tour, the day he crashed out having come agonisingly close to a 35th stage win the day before in Bordeaux. Suffering a broken collarbone in the fall, speculation about his future began almost immediately, team boss Alexander Vinokourov saying "his career cannot end here" and that it "would be nice if Mark comes back to the Tour for a 15th time and wins that 35th stage".

Mark Cavendish abandons Tour de France 2023 (Eurosport/GCN+)

Having appeared on social media training with Chris Froome recently, Cavendish will make his return to racing at the Presidential Tour of Turkey next month, a somewhat strange farewell if this is to be his last season as a professional and in turn adding fuel to the comeback rumours.

At his other Grand Tour appearance in 2023, Cavendish won the final stage of the Giro d'Italia in Rome, catching a friendly helping hand from former British Cycling and Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas.

"I was just there, and I saw he only had Luis León [Sánchez] with him, and I thought I'd help a brother out,” Thomas said afterwards.

As things stand, that remains Cavendish's last win. Will we see more in 2024?

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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5 comments

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espressodan | 9 months ago
1 like

As far as I'm concerned, Cav can run a one-man 'Lantern Rouge' campaign for the '24 tour as long as he makes it to Nice.

The tour plan for '24 will be a bit of an anti-climax for us I guess, but I don't care about beating Mercx but he needs to ride to the finish. Shame it's not Paris.

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timtak | 9 months ago
0 likes

Cavendish has a bike problem in this year's tour. He'd change bikes about 40km to go, and still have the chain popping out of gear on the final sprint. With no disrespect to Wilier, I think that this may have been because, even with a brand new frame, the rear triangle may not have been made to withstand the immense power exterted by the missile. I think Marc Cavendish's style is, even among elite sprinters, especially dependent on maximum power, because I think that he especially uses his upper body as well as his legs to power the push. I think that  Willier should be able to make a reinforced Marc Cavendish special bike, which may be attractive to Cav wanna-bees as well as larger riders.

In any event, I think that there are a lot of people who'd like to see Cavendish win, or try to win, once more so the marketing opportunity, for Wilier and all other sponsors is likely to be large. How many people viewed this article comparted to other bike.cc articles for instance?

Addendum
A Wilier Filante SLR review says that frame is really stiff so I may well be completely wrong above. In any event the cause of the chain jump should be ironed out by next year.

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Secret_squirrel replied to timtak | 9 months ago
0 likes

I think you're well into the realms of speculation, and have fallen for magazine reviews where they focus on subjective pseudo-scientific concepts that cannot objectively be measured without laser and strain gauges.

Its fundamentally no different to hifi junkie's going on about "warmth", and about as a valid.

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Secret_squirrel replied to timtak | 9 months ago
0 likes

I think you're well into the realms of speculation, and have fallen for magazine reviews where they focus on subjective pseudo-scientific concepts that cannot objectively be measured without laser and strain gauges.

Its fundamentally no different to hifi junkie's going on about "warmth", and about as a valid.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to timtak | 9 months ago
2 likes
timtak wrote:

Cavendish has a bike problem in this year's tour. He'd change bikes about 40km to go, and still have the chain popping out of gear on the final sprint. With no disrespect to Wilier, I think that this may have been because, even with a brand new frame, the rear triangle may not have been made to withstand the immense power exterted by the missile.

Cav has always been a notorious chain dropper, no matter what bike he's on. T'internet is awash with theories as to why this should be (the most likely of which seems to be that he tends to go very quickly from full gas pedalling to no revs at all if balked; the freehub still moves forward a millimetre or whatever which introduces slack into the chain), but he's always done it. It's not the bike.

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