© ASO (Danial Hakim)
Mark Cavendish will lead the line for Astana Qazaqstan in 2024
Mark Cavendish: I haven’t got long left so I might as well enjoy it
Astana Qazaqstan sprinter attends the Gent Six Day with his son as he begins to turn his attention to 2024
Editor in Chief
Mark Cavendish made a flying visit to the Gent Six Day at the weekend with his family and confirmed that he was back in training and preparing for the final season of his career.
The sprinter was due to retire this year but following his crash and abandonment at the Tour de France, the 38-year-old decided to prolong his career by another twelve months as he looks to edge past Eddy Merckx and become the only rider to achieve 35 Tour de France stage wins. Cavendish equalled Merckx’s record at the 2021 Tour de France but was not selected for the race a year later. He took second on a stage during this year’s edition of the race before crashing out.
“I’m ready. I started training again and the team is built well, or even better for next year. It was already good. I’m super excited,” the Astana Qazaqstan sprinter told Sporza as he stood trackside in Gent.
Cavendish was asked about his aims for next year. He did not list out specific targets, and his ambitions for the Tour de France are well known. It’s not clear when he will start racing next season but a return to the Tour Down Under in January is not the cards, according to the race organisers.
At the Gent Six, the veteran was in good spirits and wanted to get across his desire to make the most of his final campaign in the WorldTour.
“It’s racing, and I just love it. I haven’t got long left so I might as well enjoy it,” he said.
Cavendish was at the event with one of his children. The last time the pair were at the Gent Six was in 2021 and Cavendish sustained two broken ribs in a heavy fall. This time around he sat in the comfort of the stands and soaked up the incredible atmosphere.
© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images
Mark Cavendish has a long and storied history with the 6 Days of Gent
“The last time I rode here and he was here, I ended up in an ambulance. I never came here as a child, only for the first time as a racing junior. But when I participated here, my family always came with me. That's great,” Cavendish said.
“It’s in Belgium. Belgian people know cycling. It’s not a spectator sport, it’s a lifestyle and it’s in the blood. That’s not just particular for the Gent Six, it’s the same for all races in Belgium. You see the amount of people out watching, the knowledge of the sport from the public, that’s why riders like riding here. It’s more than just a bike ride.”