Cavendish unveils new jersey, says he feels at home with Omega Pharma Quick Step
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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Cavendish unveils new jersey, says he feels at home with Omega Pharma Quick Step

by VeloNation Press at 11:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
New year, new start for world’s top sprinter

Mark CavendishFormer world champion Mark Cavendish never really settled into Sky Procycling last year, having to play second fiddle to the team’s yellow jersey aspirations, but the Briton said that his initial impressions of the Omega Pharma Quick Step team are very positive ones.

The sprinter did just over an hour and a half training today in Tuscany, where he has spend recent days, and used the chance to wear his new team jersey. However he’s essentially been part of the team for some time, having already surrounded himself with his new team-mates prior to Christmas.

“I have to say that the first approach with the team at the team building in Slovakia and at Mallorca during the training camp was great,” he stated. “When you come to a new group, you never know how it’s going to go or how to behave.

“Instead, with this group there was immediate synchrony. Everyone here, staff and athletes, really loves cycling and is psyched to be a part of this group that has such a great history. For me, it’s important to be a part of this and to feel the faith around me.”

Cavendish will race alongside another former world champion, Tom Boonen. Like him, the Belgian is known as a fast finisher but has focussed more on Classics in recent years rather than the Grand Tours. Cavendish is being seen as the team’s big rider for races such as the Tour de France, while Boonen will try to take a record fifth Paris-Roubaix victory, as well as another win in the Tour of Flanders.

Both have said that they don’t anticipate any jarring overlaps in their abilities or goals, and seem enthusiastic about the chance to work together.

However their first race in the same squad will have to wait; Boonen was due to do the Tour de San Luis in Argentina but, as the team confirmed yesterday, the illness suffered by the Belgian in early December means that he is a little further behind than had been planned. As a result, the team has decided to put Cavendish rather than Boonen in the season-opening South American event.

Before then, though, he and the rest of the Omega Pharma Quick Step team will have a training camp in Calpe, Spain between January 6th and 13th.

“It's going to be an important training camp, during which we're going to be doing a lot of work to prepare for the start of the season,” Cavendish said. “I will make my official debut with this jersey at Tour de San Luis in Argentina.”

He said that he was enthusiastic to don the jersey for today’s training ride. “The heritage of this team is incredible; it's been around since 2003,” he said. “I'm proud to wear this jersey that Tom (Boonen) and the other guys on the team have made unique in the group. Now I, too, want to contribute and feel like this jersey I'm wearing is even more my own."

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