Mark Cavendish has said rumours of the cancellation of Schelderprijs before the start of Gent-Wevelgem caused his outpouring of emotion after the finish.
The Manxman told reporters “that’s perhaps the last race of my career” after spending the day in the breakaway at the one-day Classic, the 35-year-old very emotional and trying his best to keep it together.
With Schelderprijs going ahead, the Manxman arrived more upbeat in the mixed zone this time, and explained what had happened on Sunday.
“Due to the coronavirus, the situation is very unclear. There was talk that there might not be any more racing this year. Because I don’t have a team for 2021, I suddenly realized that Gent-Wevelgem might be the end of my career,” Cavendish told Sporza.
“I just wear my heart on my sleeve. I love cycling. Especially here in Belgium. Here in Scheldeprijs is where I achieved my first professional victory. I really looked forward to this race. I love to race in Belgium. I am really happy that this race continues. “
Of course, Cavendish hopes Schelderprijs won’t be his last race as he continues to look for a contract for next year, either with current team Bahrain-McLaren or elsewhere and says he has no plans on quitting.
“I don’t want to stop yet, I still want to keep racing,” before replying to a reporter’s question that he has had a difficult, win-less few years.
“That is relative. 80 per cent of riders never win a race. If someone else finishes 2nd, that might be good. For me it’s bad.”
Cavendish’s old team-mate Bradley Wiggins has suggested that Ineos’ Dave Brailsford should sign the sprinter for next year, bringing him back to the team where he won the Tour de France’s Champs-Élysées sprint while wearing the world champion’s jersey in 2012.
“Give him another year. 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,” Wiggins said.
“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.”
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