After a late reprieve the team will be rebranded as Qhubeka/Assos.
Having watched the documentary highlighting how Doug Ryder had built the team I felt invested in the team and worried for its future.
A number of their key riders have left for other teams but there is still enough quality on the roster to be successful. There are also plenty of available riders out there to sign and bolster the team. Cavendish and Aru anyone?
So in a nightmare year for sponsors and businesses and sport, this is a good news tale.
I won’t be writing about all the obvious stuff, the wins and the worlds and the record breaking feats.
I won’t be writing about the tantrums and the crashes, the road outside Betty’s in Harrogate and the heartbreaking interview with Sporza from the weekend.
Instead I am picking examples of ‘Cavtastic’ moments that won’t have registered with him but have made a massive contribution to my love of cycling.
If it is the end for the great man, what a career it has been.
2007 – London – Tour de France prologue – Buckingham Palace
Our club hired a coach to take in this once in a lifetime experience and we were dropped off in The Mall with a nice view of the Palace and the straight away from the Queens home.
Most of us were there to cheer David Millar as his rehabilitation into the sport continued but there was a fresh faced youngster from the British track programme who was getting a debut with T-Mobile at this race.
At the time it was great for us Brits to have another rider to cheer on home roads. With hindsight we were privileged to have been on the roadside on the opening day on the Tour de France for our nations most successful ever rider at the event.
He showed plenty of the sparkiness and commitment on the 2nd day of that Tour around Kent and we wouldn’t have to wait long before he got his hands in the air on the worlds biggest race.
2008 – Tour de France Stage 5 – Chateauroux
My experience of Cavs first Tour de France stage win wasn’t in central France. My then girlfriend (now Wife) and I were headed to the Lincolnshire coast for a bag of chips and a walk on the beach.
Whilst travelling up the A16 and through Boston she wanted to listen to songs on the radio but I wouldn’t move the dial from BBC 5 Live and the updates from France.
Simon Brotherton called the Manxman home causing scenes of fist waving and screaming in the traffic jam into Skegness that day.
In the middle of a brilliant weekend of cycling in Flanders with Fendrien we were delighted to see that Cav was down to ride the Primus Classic that weekend.
So we made the very short hop up the hill from Oudenaarde to Brakel and confidently strolled into the start village.
It was great to see the BMC’s and Cervelo’s in the paddock area and we hung around until the riders started to emerge from their buses and gather in the square.
Then it happened, there was a build up of sound and more feet padding around us as Mark Cavendish appeared to sign on.
As he left the podium there were babies thrust in his direction and lots of people shouting for selfies. I remembered that I’d read an interview where he had indicated that polite manners were the only way he’d agree to a picture so after lots of please’s and thank you’s he came over to the friendly English accents and posed for the picture at the top of this post.
He also chatted about his form, not getting picked for the worlds and what he hoped to achieve on that day.
It was a brilliant moment and one i will treasure, even more so if this is to be the end of his career.
As the results show he wasn’t a factor in the finish but we did get to see him on tv that afternoon before his work was done and he dropped out of the front group.