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Mark Cavendish hopes to race on into 2021

Joe Robinson
15 Oct 2020

The Manxman has no contract for next year but is not willing to retire just yet

Mark Cavendish is not retiring just yet. In fact, if it is up to the Manxman, he will be racing throughout the 2021 season.

'I don’t have a desire to stop, I don’t want to stop. I love this sport, I give my life to this sport and I’d like to continue riding my bike,' told Eurosport ahead of Wednesday's Scheldeprijs.

The 30-time Tour de France stage winner had given an emotional interview after Gent-Wevelgem last Sunday in which he claimed 'that’s perhaps the last race of my career'.

Having spent the day in the breakaway, it seemed as if we had all witnessed Cavendish's final outing as a professional bike rider. That was until he lined up at Scheldeprijs yesterday. 

It turns out the 35-year-old's emotional outburst came after rumours circulated that racing in Belgium was on the brink of cancellation.

'There was a lot of emotions. There were rumours at the start of the race that the rest of the race was going to be cancelled,' explained Cavendish to Eurosport.

'Obviously Belgium, the government had a meeting on Monday about the restrictions on coronavirus and it suddenly dawned on me. I don’t have next year sorted yet and it dawned on me that it could be the last race of the season and potentially my career. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I always do, and especially racing here in Belgium.

'I still don’t have next year sorted and with maybe the possibility of races not carrying on it was suddenly realising that it could be my last race.'

Without a contract for next season, Cavendish found himself battling to make the break at Scheldeprijs, a race he has won on three occasions – 2007, 2008 and 2011.

'Here in the Scheldeprijs it was my first win as a professional and I was looking forward to this race and I was enjoying racing in Belgium,' Cavendish also said before the race.

'I love the Belgian people, I love Belgian racing, it’s pure racing. It’s like when I was a kid again.'

After Scheldeprijs concluded, Cavendish was spotted ripping his race number from his bike and slipping it into his jersey pocket, perhaps a sign he is taking a souvenir from what really could be his final ever race.

However, bad luck of others could turn out to be good fortune for him as Cavendish's teammate Ivan Cortina crashed in the sprint finish of Scheldeprijs, sustaining a scaphoid fracture.

With no Cortina at this Sunday's Tour of Flanders, it means Bahrain-McLaren have a spare spot in their roster. And which of their riders just happens to be in Belgium currently and is chomping at the bit to race?