Mark Cavendish remains tight-lipped about his future, saying “when I know, then you’ll hear it” as uncertainty hangs over the B&B Hotels team he’s been strongly linked with for 2023.
Cavendish spoke to Cyclingnews in Singapore, where he’ll appear in the ASO-organized Tour de France Criterium event on Sunday, but indicated in advance that questions about his 2023 plans would not be taken.
“We’re here to talk about the first Singapore Tour de France Criterium,” he said. “When I know, then you’ll hear it.”
The 34-time Tour de France stage winner had struck a similar note at the Tour de France route presentation two days prior, discussing the possible sprint opportunities on offer next July but making clear he wouldn’t speak about anything to do with the colors in which he might ride the Tour.
Cavendish’s future looked set to be revealed before the Tour presentation, with the B&B Hotels team scheduling a presentation of their own in the French capital on Wednesday, only to cancel with a day’s notice.
Reports in the French media highlight uncertainties over a major increase in the second-division team’s finances and the arrival of new sponsors. However, the manager Jérôme Pineau looked to calm the situation with a public reassurance on Wednesday.
At this point it’s unclear where this leaves Cavendish, whether he has fully signed with the French team and is simply waiting for Pineau to complete the team’s 2023 registration and launch the rebranded project, or whether there may be more doubt about who he races for next year.
“When I know, then you’ll be the first to hear it,” Cavendish repeated to Cyclingnews.
Cavendish ended his 16th season with four wins, taking stages at the Giro d’Italia, UAE Tour, and Tour of Oman, plus Milano-Torino and a second British national road race title.
There was natural disappointment at missing out on selection for the Tour de France and he was unable to close out his second stint at QuickStep-AlphaVinyl with a win – coming second at the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen – but he took pride in his 2022 season.
“It’s great to have won,” he said. “I’m a Grand Tour sprinter, and I won at the Giro, with good teamwork and a good sprint. That was a very nice win.”
The Giro was the biggest win but the best was arguably the national title, where he took off his sprinter’s hat, attacked almost from the gun, rolled with the punches of a chaotic race and picked off the final two riders in the sprint.
It showed a different side to Cavendish, beyond the more regimented WorldTour sprints, one that harks back to his racing roots on the Isle of Man and one he gets to indulge at Nationals most years.
“It’s nice to be able to get out and race. I always like the Nationals,” Cavendish said.
“I can do more than sprint, but I have a job to do, which is to win bike races. Fortunately, I’m pretty good at sprinting. I just want to win bike races and sprinting is the most efficient way of doing it .
“Of course I enjoy racing, it’s what I grew up doing, and Nationals provides that opportunity for me to do that. You just do it. You never forget how to race.”