Mark Cavendish not in the mood for difficult questions ahead of UAE Tour
Manxman defiant in face of questions about B&B Hotels fiasco as he braces for bunch sprint battle royale in the Emirates.
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ABU DHABI (VN) – Mark Cavendish was not feeling the tricky questions Sunday.
The Manx batted back questions about the B&B Hotels team implosion and was characteristically curt when asked about early season confidence ahead of the UAE Tour‘s “Super Bowl of the sprinters” this coming week.
“No” was Cavendish’s sole answer when asked if he feared for his career when the B&B Hotels project he was slated to join for 2023 fell apart in December.
Cavendish was reportedly all-set to form the center of the B&B team’s roster for this year only to be one of many racers dramatically cut adrift at late notice when sponsors withdrew offers.
Now securely signed to Astana-Qazaqstan, Cavendish was in no mood to talk about his turbulent off-season. It was a period that also saw him forced to relive his horror armed robbery of 2021 when the case was finally taken to British courts.
The experience of the dramatic few months that saw the 37-year-old out of contract and without a future team seemed still to be a raw nerve Sunday.
“They were alright thank you, how were yours? Mine were alright,” Cavendish quipped when asked about his experience the recent months.
Also read: Cavendish on move to Astana-Qazaqstan: ‘Life taught me to move on’
Cavendish makes his WorldTour debut with Astana-Qazaqstan at the UAE Tour after the Kazakh crew threw him a liferaft and the opportunity to hunt a record-topping 35th Tour de France stage win.
The Emirati race sees Cavendish line out as one of a whole swath of elite fast finishers. Dylan Gronewegen, Sam Bennett, Tim Merlier, and Caleb Ewan are among the cream of the sprint crop set to slug out four likely mass gallops in the coming week.
When asked by VeloNews how important the UAE race was for early season confidence and momentum in the hurly-burly world of bunch sprints, Cavendish deftly sidestepped.
‘We’re here because it’s a good opportunity to hone how to ride the finals’
Cavendish seemed more becoming Sunday when answering questions from UAE Tour organizers and local VIPs.
“This race is always important, especially for a sprinter. In terms of all the sprinters in one place in one time, there’s nowhere else in the world,” Cavendish told UAE Tour officials in the Sunday conference. “It’s important for us as sprinters and teams to get the ball rolling earlier in the year.”
Teams like JaycoAlUla and Bora-Hansgrohe already dialed in leadout trains through early season racing ahead of the UAE royal rumble.
Cavendish however only opened his season at the Omani Tour earlier this month and was without leadout man number one, Cees Bol.
Bol pairs up with Cavendish for the first time this coming week, and all eyes will be on what the Astana sprinter unit can deliver in this rare pivot from GC racing.
“I changed teams this year, and it’s relatively new to the world of sprinting,” Cavendish said. “But we’re here because it’s a good opportunity to hone how to ride in the finals of the bunch sprints. There are big wide roads and long flat finishes here so it’s a good place to learn.”
VeloNews later approached Cavendish for a one-on-one interview only to be shut down by team staff.
Cavendish will be hoping his legs do all the talking for him in the next week.