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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 joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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