Oman, starting point for the new stage of Cavendish

One more season, and it will be number 20, Mark Cavendish a professional number will be hung. This Friday will be the game in the Muscat Classic (8:00 am, Oman Sports TV) and from tomorrow Saturday he will be in the Tour of Oman, all in the same country until next Wednesday, But to get here, the Briton (37 years old) has had one of the most difficult winters of his career. He has not run since October 9, when he finished his second stage in the Quick Step, a stint with the Belgian team that relaunched him to stardom, especially in 2021: added four victories in the Tour de France, when it seemed that his best years were over, and equaled Eddy Merckx’s record with 34 wins. No one has more than them.

In 2022 the situation began to change in Patrick Lefevere’s team, since the manager preferred to take Fabio Jakobsen (added a win) as a sprinter to the French race. cavs did not have the option to break the tie with The Cannibal. Shortly after, the team announced that when his contract expired, Cavendish would not carry on. Everything indicated that he would enroll in the French B & B (2nd category), which would have the financial support of the city of Paris, but everything went wrong and did not prosper.

Mark Cavendish, at Media Day before addressing the media in Oman

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Mark Cavendish, at Media Day before addressing the media in OmanASO/Oman Cycling Association/Pauline Ballet

In fact, the team couldn’t even move on, leaving its runners unemployed and some who were out of their minds, like Cavendish, having to fight for a place at a late date. Then Vinokourov’s Astana appeared with full chips… until a gap remained after the dismissal of Miguel Ángel López. The conversations intensified and it was not until January 17 that the signing was made official: “We have the best sprinter of all time”, celebrated the Kazakh.

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His 161 victories endorse him, especially the aforementioned 34 in the Tour de France (he was only 2nd three times in the French race). “Yes, going to the Tur is one of the objectives,” Cavendish said yesterday on a boat in Oman, speaking to the media present before the race. Concise in words, as usual in the British, he did have a happier mood than usual, with the occasional joke. “I’m happy to be here. It is a good career to start and meet my new colleagues, ”she highlighted. Today he will have his first contact with the new Clásica de Muscat (173 km), which debuts on the calendar with up to six climbs, all short, but some with 10% unevenness, including one 4 km from the end. already within the final circuit, which will be key to knowing the winner around the Omani capital.

Profile of the Muscat Classic this Friday, February 10

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Profile of the Muscat Classic this Friday, February 10

An ideal profile for classical fans in the one that the sprinters will try to resist under the heat of Oman, with temperatures that will not drop below 20 degrees. Behind, Cavendish leaves some intense months: “I never said that I was frustrated,” he pointed out. In recent weeks he was in Spain, “a nice country to train.” The Briton adds two wins in Oman… but this edition is not ideal for sprinters. A first contact.

Three Spanish teams

The 12th edition of the Tour of Oman It will be the one with the most Spanish teams present, with three. After eight years of absence, the Movistar return to the appointment They will also be the Burgos BHwhich repeats, and the Kern Pharma, debutante. Jesús Herrada (Cofidis), “motivated” before a “good” route for his qualities.

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