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Mark Cavendish set to announce retirement at end of the season, reports suggest

According to reports from Italy, the legendary sprinter, who celebrates his 38th birthday today, will announce his retirement at a Giro d’Italia rest day press conference on Monday

Mark Cavendish will announce that he will retire from professional cycling at the end of 2023 at a press conference tomorrow, according to reports from Italy.

La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported this morning that the former world champion, who celebrates his 38th birthday today, is set to confirm that this season will mark the end of his 17-year-long pro career during tomorrow’s rest day at the Giro d’Italia.

The British champion, riding the Giro for new team Astana Qazaqstan, has picked up three top tens in sprints at this year’s edition of the Corsa Rosa so far, including an encouraging third place into Tortona on Wednesday, just behind winner Pascal Ackermann, and remains set to lead the Kazakh team in July as he chases that elusive, record-breaking 35th stage win at the Tour de France.

Pascal Ackermann beats Jonathan Milan and Mark Cavendish on stage 11 of the 2023 Giro d’Italia (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

Pascal Ackermann beats Cavendish and Jonathan Milan on a chaotic stage 11 (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

According to La Gazzetta’s sources, Cavendish will reveal tomorrow that this year’s Tour will be his final attempt to break the record he currently shares with Eddy Merckx, teeing up a potentially fitting and climactic end to a career that has seen the Manx rider cement his status as arguably the sport’s greatest ever sprinter.

Along with those 34 Tour stage triumphs, Cavendish has taken a staggering 161 victories – 53 of which have come in grand tours – while riding for teams such as Columbia-HTC, Sky, Quick-Step, Dimension Data, and Bahrain-McLaren, since turning pro for T-Mobile in 2006. He also won a thrilling edition of Milan-Sanremo in 2009, and two years later took both the points classification at the Tour de France and the rainbow bands in Copenhagen.

After his unexpected comeback success with Deceuninck-Quick Step at the 2021 Tour de France, where he levelled Merckx’s record with four stage wins and took a second green jersey, Cavendish was controversially left out of the Belgian team’s squad for the following year’s Tour.

Mark Cavendish Giro d'Italia stage five crash 2023 (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

Cavendish dramatically crashes across the line – and still manages fourth place – on stage five of this year’s Giro (Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

A winter dominated by a protracted transfer saga, instigated by the slow and painful demise of Jérôme Pineau’s ill-fated French project, eventually saw the British champion end up at Astana, where he will be afforded what now appears to be one last opportunity to make yet more history at a race in which he redefined the art of sprinting.

In the meantime, birthday boy Cavendish will have to slog through a tough, hilly stage 15 of the Giro, aided by a disappointingly small cake gifted by the race organisers at the stage start this morning:

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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peted76 | 1 year ago
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Day two of the news of Cav retiring.. and although we all knew it was coming.. I can't shake an odd feeling that we should be planning a party for him or something..  

I think a lot of people have empathised with him over the years, seeing his rise, decine, dogged determination and subsequent rise again (especially the last rise back to form) has been an emotional journey which, in cycling and elite sport, I just can't think that we've seen before like Cav's story..  

So many people will be willing another stage win from him, if only to see the emotion directly afterwards.. he is a generational talent who was in the right place at the right time, I want to read the book, watch the movie and drink in the documentary.

Cheers Cav, I look forward to the next couple of months headlines before you turn the page on a new chapter.

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mark1a | 1 year ago
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bobbinogs | 1 year ago
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This makes a lot of sense for Cav.  He still remains an incredible athelete but sprinters don't seem to have too long a shelf life.  I suspect that the inevitable loss of power as one ages, coupled with an increasing desire for self preservation means that they either don't have the strength to get that crucial gap...or the will to risk all to get it.  Cav is also a winner by attitude and ability so I have never seen him as the kind of bloke who would just make up numbers or ignore the actual results (Froomedog, are you watching enlightened  ).  It's been fantastic watching him in his career though, yes, he comes with 'features' but don't we all!

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