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Mark Cavendish signs for Astana Qazaqstan for 2023 season

"Still waiting?" the team posted on social media alongside a photo of the 34-time Tour de France stage winner...

The Mark Cavendish transfer saga has finally come to an end.

Cavendish joins the team on a deal for the 2023 season and said he is "really excited for this adventure".

"I raced with Alexandr Vinokurov for many years, and now I'm racing with his two boys! I remember when they were children the same age as my own, dreaming to be bike racers.

"Astana Qazaqstan Team is going to be a great place to be successful, with a strong team led by Alexandr, a champion on the bike and a gentleman off the bike. I've enjoyed a long career already, but the joy of riding my bike and the hunger to continue winning are as bright as ever.

"So I'm looking forward to being part of a successful team, whether working with the team for wins, crossing the line first myself, or cheering on my teammates. As always, the objective will be for us to stand on the top podium."

It is the news the cycling world has been expecting for weeks. At the weekend Cavendish was spotted, seemingly loading an Astana team car at Alicante airport and was yesterday reportedly seen training with his new teammates.

Mark Cavendish Alicante airport Astana Qazaqstan (Twitter/@CaleyFretz)

The rumours were already established by the time Cav's first Astana-related sighting emerged back in December — grainy footage of a jersey suspiciously similar to his British national champion's outfit aboard an Astana-liveried Wilier near where the team was at training camp on the Spanish coast.

Hailing the signing, team boss Alexandr Vinokourov said: "Well, Mark Cavendish doesn't need any presentation. He is the best sprinter of all time and I am happy to welcome Mark in Astana Qazaqstan Team.

"The arrival of a top sprinter in our team is a kind of challenge for us, but we are ready for it. We see new ways and new possibilities. The goals however are still the same – victories in any kind of race: Classics, stages in different stage races and, of course, in the Grand Tours.

"Mark still has a big desire to win and we are going to support this feeling with all our forces in all kind of races."

Dan is the 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 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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Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago

Good luck, Cav.

We're all rooting for a great season ahead.

It would be the icing on the cake if you notch one more over the great Belgian master.

Dirty tricks of last season.... IMO.

You'll have to work your knackers off!

Then go write a book!

ChuckSneed | 1 year ago
1 like

If there's one team with the right pedigree for getting wins late in careers, it's Astana with their doping program

wtjs | 1 year ago

I didn't think he could make it last time, and I was very pleased to be wrong. I hope he's there and I hope he wins a stage but I won't be despondent if he doesn't- he has nothing else to prove.

Glov Zaroff | 1 year ago

It's really great news, but I'm just worried about him losing his coach Vasilis Anastopoulos. You were pretty much guaranteed a Cav win if he'd been putting in the hours on the track in Greece with Vasilis in the run up to a race. He's a great coach, I just hope he wasn't Cav's lucky charm too. 

Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
1 like

Yay!  TDF stage win please please please.

PRSboy replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

Fingers crossed!

Sevenfold replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

More than one please to make up for missing last years' TDF.

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