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Max Sciandri and Movistar team have quickly and resolutely denied that they are interested in a last-minute deal to bring Mark Cavendish to the team.
A report in Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday suggested that Sciandri was interested in bringing the sprinter to the team for 2023 as Cavendish looked to break Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins at the Tour de France. Cavendish is currently tied with Merckx for the accolade but has not yet announced his future plans.
Sciandri and Cavendish had a longstanding and warm relationship dating back to when the former Motorola rider ran the British Cycling Academy in Italy. Cavendish was part of the program before turning professional and was based in Italy at the time.
The story in the Italian press is speculative to say the least, with no quotes from either Cavendish or Sciandri on the matter. Instead, the notion of Cavendish signing for the Spanish team is positioned as a hypothesis.
Immediately after the story was published VeloNews contacted Sciandri. He said that the story was “not true” and that he hadn’t read the online post. To add weight to that position, Movistar quickly released a statement on Twitter.
“Can we please, kindly remind everyone that we’re at 30 riders on our men’s team for 2023 (the UCI maximum) and this is just the desire of Max, who has been close friends with Cav for a long time,” the team stated.
Cavendish has been heavily linked with Jerome Pineau’s B&B team for 2023. The French team failed to receive an immediate ProTeam license from the UCI in October and has until November 15 reapply for second-tier status.
If it fails at that stage then Cavendish will be back on the market and looking for a team.