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No Tour de France record for Mark Cavendish in 2022 — teammate Fabio Jakobsen says Manx Missile will race Giro d'Italia

Dutch sprinter reveals Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl plan to take him to the Tour de France as their sprinter, leaving no room for Cav

Mark Cavendish will not get the opportunity to break Eddy Merckx's Tour de France stage wins record in 2022, according to Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammate Fabio Jakobsen.

In an interview with cycling news website Wielerflits, Jakobsen revealed the team wants him as their fast man for the Tour, leaving Cavendish to race the Giro d'Italia instead.

Cavendish won the green jersey and four stages of this year's Tour, equalling Merckx's record of 34 stage wins at the race, although next year's edition, starting in Copenhagen on 1 July, looks less suited to the sprinters.

> Routes of 2022 Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes by Zwift unveiled in Paris 

According to his Dutch teammate, the Manx Missile will not be getting a shot at win number 35.

"He [Cav] knows that the Tour is my goal and that he will ride the Giro himself," Jakobsen told Wielerflits. "But he is ready as a reserve. He can do that like no other. And I think he's happy with that role."

Asked if he felt guilty, Jakobsen added: "Yes. Though guilty isn't the right word. Because I think I deserve it too. And if I'm not good enough, I don't go. But you have to make a schedule.

"I started at the bottom of the ladder in the team and gradually worked my way up. I have already experienced the pressure of a Grand Tour twice and the Vuelta has now been the stepping stone. Now I can try it at the highest level."

Cavendish has famously been bored by questions about breaking Merckx's stage wins record, leaving the conversation to fans and reporters.

At this year's race he was pipped by Wout van Aert on the final stage in Paris for what would have been win number 35 and the outright record.

The 36-year-old has suffered a turbulent off-season, sustaining significant injuries in a crash at the Ghent Six Day, and was the victim of an assault and burglary at his home in November. One man has since been charged over the robbery, another two released on bail.

> Mark Cavendish “violently attacked” in armed robbery at his Essex home

Speaking to the BBC, Cavendish was characteristically confident he could "bounce back" and said he hopes to "spend more time at home and see my kids grow up".

"You have to bounce back," he told BBC Sport. "People have had worse setbacks - it's how you deal with them. I want to spend more time at home and see my kids grow up. I don't want to be tired after training rides and I want to be around at weekends.

"I have plans, but they can't come to fruition yet as I want to focus on riding. I am fortunate to still ride a bike for a living."

If Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's plan of taking Jakobsen to the Tour unfolds it will be the 25-year-old's debut at the race, and a significant milestone in his comeback from a life-threatening crash at the Tour of Poland in 2020.

Jakobsen returned to the elite level of the sport last year, coincidently riding alongside Cavendish at the Tour of Turkey in his first race back.

That week Cavendish won four stages, including his first for more than three years, while Jakobsen went on to win four stages himself later in the year at the Vuelta a España.

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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sizbut | 2 years ago
1 like

... and a year ago Cav wasn't going to ride the Tour. We all know what happened to that news...

visionset | 2 years ago

I'd have thought the potential of such a massive record being broken was media/advertising gold.

Rendel Harris replied to visionset | 2 years ago

visionset wrote:

I'd have thought the potential of such a massive record being broken was media/advertising gold.

Yes but...I speak as a massive Cav fan but he will be 37 by the time the 2022 Tour begins, his injuries from Ghent were pretty shocking and, as I mentioned below, there are fewer pure sprint opportunities on this year's parcours. Also have to factor in that Cav probably wouldn't have equalled the record last year if Ewan hadn't crashed out...

They'll have to weigh up the positive publicity if Cav can do it against the negative associations of taking him and him being the main story throughout the Tour then not making it.

Really hope Cav gets a chance but I can see good reasons for preferring Jackobsen if he goes well in the early part of the season.

Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like

The Tour is more than 6months away, it really is pointless stating who is going to ride what this far ahead as definite, as all manner of things can happen between now and the start of the race. Cav wasnt down to ride last years race till virtually the day teams had to be entered.

Not withstanding can you really not fit 2 sprinters in a team of 8 ?

Its basically just Fabio trying to state his claim to a spot,rather than any decisions have been made

Jimmy Ray Will replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like

I agree with you, this will be Fabio claiming his turf.

From a sporting management perspective however it doesn't really make sense. Cavendish's performances at last year's tour were pretty much faultless, which backs on to a palmares with literally unrivalled sprinting success at the tour. 

For the world's biggest stage, I'd take the rider with the proven track record as long as that rider is still performing. I wouldn't be benching the 'present' to support the 'future'.

Should be fund to watch as the season progresses. 


Rendel Harris replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like

Awavey wrote:

Not withstanding can you really not fit 2 sprinters in a team of 8?

Not really if they want (as one assumes they will) stage wins, a high placing and/or an extended spell in yellow for JA, he'll need workhorses and some good climbing assistance. Additionally there are fewer opportunities for out-and-out sprinters on the 2022 route than usual, so from a pragmatic point of view there's little point in using a quarter of your places for smallish returns. Also, with two star sprinters, who gets to boss the leadout train? I think it has to be one or the other, though as you say Jakobsen saying this way before the season's even started seems a bit more like pre-emptive scent marking rather than a serious declaration of the definite.

AlsoSomniloquism replied to Awavey | 2 years ago

Awavey wrote:

The Tour is more than 6months away, it really is pointless stating who is going to ride what this far ahead as definite, as all manner of things can happen between now and the start of the race.

Although from the live blog, it looks like other teams are stating about the tour already.

Awavey replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago

well Id imagine FDJs thing is just to keep the French sponsors happy, how can Pinot not ride the Tour would be the cry if he wasnt automatically and obviously picked for it, but alot can happen in 6 months, theyll still have the uncertainty of covid to deal with, other illnesses can crop up, youve got the risk of injuries and crashes both in training rides & in races leading up to the Tour to deal with and then the whole thing of which riders are actually in form in July anyway.

i just think its way too soon to be making selections like this rider is on the tour team and this rider isnt, and its just a mix of positioning by riders and teams for sponsors, being picked up by the cycling media who are bored there are no actual road races to report on at the moment.

Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

Its entirely possible thats what the extended contract negotiations were about.  Take the cash and ride the Giro or get lost.

Its also genuinely possible that he fancies that the Giro is better for stage wins this year.

He has nothing to prove to anyone but himself.

Sniffer | 2 years ago
1 like

Cav has a great first half of the season including lots of Giro stage wins.  Jakobsen doesn't do as well.  Lefevre will back the best spriner for wins.

Not saying it is going to happen, but the door isn't shut if Cav's form is exceptional.  Successful athletes can often find a way, even when the challenge looks insurmountable.

alexuk | 2 years ago

I sense a conflict.

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