• Cycling

Cavendish: One year was too much to lose in my career

ESPN staff
October 29, 2012
Mark Cavendish joined Team Sky at the end of 2011 © Getty Images

Mark Cavendish has admitted he feared joining Team Sky was a mistake after confirming his move to Omega Pharma-Quick Step after a single season with the British team.

Cavendish arrived at the team as world road race champion and having won the Green Jersey at the 2011 Tour de France, but was forced to play second fiddle as Sky focused their efforts on Bradley Wiggins' quest for the Yellow Jersey.

While he insists he was happy to play a role in an historic Tour for British cycling, Cavendish said he was frustrated by the lack of opportunities to win stages.

"Look, I did not want a full team built around me," Cavendish told the Times. "If I'd wanted that I would never have gone there in the first place. And I didn't want to put the Yellow Jersey at risk [in the Tour de France].

"But I could not get my head round it when we got to stages, which would not have jeopardised it, and the sports director said, 'We don't want a sprint'. I'm a perfectionist. I was one of the most prolific winners of the year, but I was good enough to win 25 and I won 15.

"Brad's a friend of mine, almost a brother to me, I'm a professional, I was part of a team that won the Yellow Jersey. It was not hard to keep riding, but I'm not happy unless I win as much as is possible.

"Never settle for what you have, keep pushing. If the team is not doing that I'm not going to risk it. One year was too much to lose in my career."

Cavendish believes the arrival of daughter Delilah has made him more determined to win another Green Jersey.

"A lot of the dads in the peloton said to me that I'd start to bottle it now and I thought, 'oh f***', but to be fair it's done the opposite," he said. "The dads said I wouldn't take as many risks, but I don't take many risks anyway. It's calculated and rare that I crash through a technical error.

"But if I'm going to be away from my daughter for 200 days a year then I'm going to make every day count. I'm more aggressive now because it's got to be worth it. I'm doing this to provide for my family and to make them proud."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.