Mark Cavendish dreams of having his own team when he retires from racing. That’s what he tells his former DS Brian Holm in their head to head interview in the latest issue of Rouleur.
Cav has no plans of retiring any time soon but asked by Holm what he envisages doing in eight years time, the multiple Tour de France stage winner says: “my dream is to have a team. I learned a lot from the teams I have been with, and you know that, although I don’t ride for Quick Step, I am still really close with Patrick [Lefevere] and learned a lot from him.
“For him to have a team for such a long time shows what a good businessman he is, and he tells you straight down the line – I think that is the thing I appreciate about him most. He doesn’t play games.”
The sprinter’s ambitions are no more elaborate than that: “I want my own team. Simple as that,” he reiterates. But he does concede: “it might even be a track team, I don’t know. We’ll have to see how many people I piss off.”
There’s a fair bit of banter between Cav and Holm in the interview. The Quick Step DS, who guest edited this 17.8 edition of the magazine, was after all best man at Cavendish’s wedding. But Cav is deadly serious about his dreams in their discussions, including his desire to win a race solo.
“I kind of did when I won the Nationals ,” Cav tells the Dane. “There were three of us, and I had some seconds between. If I had really wanted, I could have won that alone, I think.”
But Holm replies: “I was thinking of Paris-Roubaix, Harelbeke, Wevelgem, Three Days of De Panne – crosswinds, rain, hailstones…”
“I would like to do it,” says the Manxman. “Talking about how I can’t do anything but sprint is bullshit. [But] I am paid to sprint. What is the point in risking not winning? Do you think I like sitting there, in eighth position behind my team, the whole day? It is quite monotonous, but it’s a job.”
The pair discuss how his pay-cutting move to Dimension Data, at least in theory, gave Cavendish more freedom in his role. But they also chat about what happens to the dynamic of a race when sprinters do get in the escape. Holm then points out how André Greipel mixes it up in the break sometimes.
“It’s good that he does it,” says Cav of his rival, “and that he races hard throughout the year.”
“But anyone can attack on the Kanarieberg [a mid race climb at the Tour of Flanders], anyone can attack after the Marc Madiot sector [number 13 at Paris-Roubaix]. Well, not anyone, but you know what I mean. They are not race-winning moves. I don’t want to attack just to get on TV. I want to attack to win.”
The interview between the two covers a lot of ground from how Cav would like to ride the reinstated Madison at the Olympics with Geraint Thomas and what a standup guy George Hincapie is, to how motorbikes interfere with racing and why a tactical decision by Holm almost destroyed Cavendish’s 2013 Giro.
Cavendish won the stage but “the next two days I was out the arse,” he recalls.
“And it’s because of this prick.”