Mark Cavendish refuses to blame teammates after being isolated in Scheldeprijs finale
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mark Cavendish refuses to blame teammates after being isolated in Scheldeprijs finale

by Ben Atkins at 4:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
Manx sprinter disappointed not to win for his daughter’s first birthday

mark cavendishMark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was visibly disappointed at the end of today’s Scheldeprijs, as he just failed to overcome the sprint of Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) and take a record fourth victory. The Manx sprinter had found himself alone coming into the finishing straight, and had to start from too far behind the German in the rush for the line, but refused to be drawn into criticising his teammates by Belgian reporters as he waited to go onto the podium.

Throughout his career Cavendish has always remained publicly supportive of those who work for his victories, regardless of what is said behind closed doors. He made headlines recently when he was critical of his lead out train after he missed out in the first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, and is clearly keen to avoid the same media storm this time.

“I just came from about 20 back, with about 200 to go,” he said to Sporza’s cameras as he sat in the backstage mix-zone. “That’s it. It’s too far back.”

Cavendish was then asked if the explanation was a lack of teammates, but refused to be drawn.

“I guess so, in the final, but…” he responded.

When asked about what the consequences would be for the day’s result, and what would be said in the team bus afterwards, he still refused to name his teammates.

“I don’t know,” Cavendish said. “I don’t know. We ride so well. The whole day we ride so, so well, until the last kilometres, you know, and… I don’t know…”

Cavendish had no explanation for his team’s lack of dominance in the final kilometres.

“I’ve no idea,” he shrugged.

As the Sporza journalist tried to press him further, the former World champion interrupted.

“Are we going to talk about something else please, is that okay?” he asked.

As the reporter explained that, as a journalist, it was his job to ask, Cavendish became a little more agitated.

“I don’t know what went wrong,” he said. “I didn’t win the bike race.”

After the presentation, Cavendish made a statement about the race finish, where he continued to point the finger at his teammates, and paying tribute to the rider who managed to hold him off on the way to the line.

"The race went okay; it was windy, but the guys rode brilliantly all day always present at the front," he said. "In the last kilometres it was a bit hectic and we had some problems with keeping good position in the final.

“In the sprint I was about 20th position and I was coming, coming, coming, and I went to go with about 250 meters to go but [Vacansoleil-DCM’s Romain] Feillu was coming around too. So I had to leave about 50 metres more to start. I just ran out of time, you know, and if I'm not in the top five positions it's usually too far back.

“But Marcel Kittel won and it's not like he's not one of the best sprinters in the world,” Cavendish conceded. “So I can't be too disappointed today, losing a close finish to a guy like that. I was really excited to race here today, as I'm on a Belgian team now.

As well as missing out on a record fourth victory in the Belgian semi-Classic, there was a more personal reason for Cavendish’s disappointment at being just beaten to the line today.

“Also, it's a special day as a year ago my little princess Delilah was born, it's her first birthday,” the sprinter explained. “I missed the race a year ago today because she was due to be born. So I wanted to come here and win for her, for her birthday present. It's really nice, I love my family being here. They put my life into perspective. It takes the whole pressure from the day away."


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