Mark Cavendish could race in Tour de France despite teammate claiming he will be the lead sprinter

Mark Cavendish hasn’t ruled out competing in this year’s Tour de France, but said he would do “what’s best for the team” after his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammate Fabio Jakobsen claimed that he would be the team’s main sprinter in France this summer, with Cavendish instead on the Giro d’Italia.

Cavendish, 36, turned the years back in amazing ways last year after receiving an 11-hour call-in for the biggest cycling race following an injury to Irishman Sam Bennett. Having not won a race in almost three years and battling Epstein-Barr virus and clinical depression for much of that time, Cavendish won the green jersey and four individual stage wins to tie Eddy Merckx on 34 wins.

His chances of increasing that tally this summer, when he turns 37, may depend on Jakobsen, the young Dutch rider who has himself recovered from a serious injury.

Jakobsen was placed in an induced coma for two days and underwent several reconstructive facial surgeries following a horrific accident on the Tour of Poland in 2020.

The 25-year-old returned to win four stages of the Vuelta a Espana last year and says he was promised the Tour in July with Cavendish on the Giro d’Italia in May.

“He [Cavendish] knows that the Tour is my goal and that he will ride the Giro himself, “Jakobsen told Wielerflits at the team’s pre-season camp in Spain.” But he’s ready as a reserve. He can do it like no other. And I think he’s happy with this role.

The director of the Quick-Step team, Patrick Lefevere, did not confirm the comments, saying “I don’t know [if Mark will ride this year’s Tour]. I am not Madame Soleil, I do not have the crystal ball. And Cavendish, speaking after Jakobsen, said his goal right now was simply to get back into shape and form after a horrific offseason that saw the runner break his ribs and suffer a puncture in the lung during the an accident at Ghent Six Day before armed intruders entered his house. in November, threatening him and his family.

“You have to bounce back,” he told BBC Sport. “People have had the worst setbacks – this is the way you treat them.”

He added: “I’m a professional so I’ll try to win where I can and where it’s best for the team. I’m pretty happy with the way my career has gone and happy to be racing in 2022. ”

“All cyclists want to go on the Tour de France. [But] I am a professional cyclist. I will do everything I can to be in good shape for every race I prepare for. It is the job of a professional cyclist. I did this last year even when I didn’t know my schedule, I made sure I was in good shape for every race I did and will continue to do so. This is what I have been doing my whole career.

Cavendish, who signed a new one-year contract late last year, has hinted that this could be his final season. “I want to spend more time at home and watch my children grow up,” he said. “I don’t want to be tired after training and I want to be there on the weekends. I have plans, but they can’t come to fruition because I want to focus on driving. riding a bicycle for a living. “