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The stars have aligned for Mark Cavendish's return to the Tour de France

Will Strickson
15 Jun 2021

Returning to QuickStep, winning races and an injury to Sam Bennett, the universe is calling Cavendish home. Photos: Offside

Let's not beat around the bush. We all love Mark Cavendish MBE and want him to get another shot at the Tour de France

One of the greatest cyclists of all time, at 36 Cav is coming to the pointy end of his career and has struggled over the last few seasons with form, teams and illness.

Before this year, the last race he won was a stage of the Dubai Tour in February 2018 and, despite being just four wins off Eddy Merckx's Tour de France stage wins record, his last Tour stage victory came in 2016.

Now, the fact that he won four stages in 2016 and that he needs another four to tie The Cannibal is just a coincidence, but there are many other strange events surrounding the 2021 season that suggest greater forces are at play and that Mark Cavendish is destined to make a return to La Grande Boucle on 26th June.

Written in the stars

We'll start with the obvious: the prodigal son returned to Deceuninck-QuickStep this year as both he and his pal Rod Ellingworth left Bahrain Victorious after a disappointing 2020 season. 

Although Cavendish's glory years came before his first stint at QuickStep, the team is made for him, with engines everywhere you look and an all-out approach to racing that has been a factory for huge wins.

Cav even said returning to Patrick Lefevere's team felt like coming home and he sure seems happy to be there.

Secondly, and this isn't a happy fact but that might be the karma for Cav's success, Sam Bennett is injured.

Bennett was the sprinter last year, bagging himself two stage wins and the green jersey. However he's recently been nursing a knee injury that saw him pull out from the team's Belgium Tour squad – we'll get onto what happened there later.

If Bennett doesn't go, who will fill Deceuninck-QuickStep's spot? It has to be Cav.

There are also several arguably more speculative things worth noting too, starting with the fact that the Olympics are this year. Yes it was meant to be last year but that makes it even more fateful.

Cavendish always turns up at the Tour in Olympic years. In 2008 he won four stages, in 2012 he won three stages and in 2016 he won four stages. Say no more.

Then we should consider the return of Adidas to cycling, with the German brand releasing its first road cycling shoes in 15 years. Cavendish's first Tour de France appearance came with T-Mobile in 2007 and who made the kit? 

Check out Adidas full range of cycling kit here (including a T-Mobile-esque pink jersey)

I know what you're thinking though, we can't call it fate if we don't consider his star signs. It comes as no surprise that Cavendish is a Gemini but what is more interesting is that he's on the cusp of Taurus.

Don't tell Monster energy drinks but hidden under the big personality and, currently, bigger smile, is a raging bull for whom winning is a must.

Cav is cycling's Michael Jordan, and as such any near miss or slight on his ability is taken personally and used as motivation for another big performance.

Always a fierce competitor, you can be sure that whether he is back to his best or not, Mark Cavendish will fight for every millisecond on the road, especially at the Tour de France. Just be glad the race doesn't dip into northern Spain and head to Pamplona.

It doesn't take a soothsayer to notice that 2021 Mark Cavendish is different to the last few years.

Not only did he clean up at the Tour of Turkey, winning four out of eight stages, but he just won the final stage of the Tour of Belgium where he beat heavyweights including Caleb Ewan, Tim Merlier, Dylan Groenewegen, Giacomo Nizzolo, Pascal Ackermann, Nacer Bouhanni and more. All while doing his bit to help Remco Evenepoel to overall victory.

As for his chances if he was picked, there are a whopping eight stages that could be contested by the sprinters at this year's race.

I certainly wouldn't be the one to bet against him, especially with the universe on his side.