Bradley Wiggins says Mark Cavendish deserves a much better send-off than crying after Gent-Wevelgem and has urged Ineos boss Dave Brailsford to sign him for next year.
“Mark’s like my little brother, I love him. It’s not nice watching him cry on the telly like that,” Wiggins said in the latest episode of his podcast, The Bradley Wiggins Show.
“For someone who’s done so much in the sport, world champion, Milan San-Remo winner, 30-odd stages of the Tour, being one of the people who catapulted cycling to where it is in this country. For someone like that to have to exit a sport that he loves and thrives on like this, through other people’s decisions…you always want to have an element of control when you leave the sport.
“Part of me thinks he deserves far more. I understand that there are financial implications in teams, but someone, somewhere, should stand up and go ‘this guy deserves a far better send-off than crying at the end of Gent Wevelgem’. And it’s not with a victory, but just with the respect that he deserves.”
Cavendish struggled to keep it together during an interview after the finish of Gent-Wevelgem 2020, emotional as he told his interviewer that he had maybe just raced the last race of his career.
“I wouldn’t imagine it would be about money or anything about that,” Wiggins continued. “Just sign the ****ing guy,” before adding that Cavendish has transcended the sport.
“We were like Ant and Dec me and him in the day. Cav and Wiggo. And with the season we’ve had it’s very difficult I know, but he would race until he’s 45 if he could.”
Wiggins says Cavendish should be able to stop when he himself decides and has urged for Ineos boss Dave Brailsford to bring the sprinter back to the team he rode for in 2012, winning the Tour de France Champs-Élysées sprint on stage 21 in the rainbow bands, being led out by Bradley Wiggins in the yellow jersey.
“Give him another year,” Wiggins said. “Say it’s his last year, and everywhere he goes he’s feted. You don’t let people leave the sport like that. All great sportsmen get to leave in their own way, and I don’t like seeing him drift off like that.
“I’m worried he won’t get what he deserves because it is the way it is and it’s full of ****s and someone’s got to step in. Brailsford, come on! Sign him for Ineos for another year.”