Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

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Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Adam D on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 7:19 am

After unprecedented success for Team Sky and British Cycling at the recent Tour de France, with Bradley Wiggins taking the yellow jersey, Team Sky picking up multiple stage wins and British riders winning a third of the stages in the race, many people have been speculating whether Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome should leave Team Sky to further their individual careers. I will give my thoughts on the situations of these riders in this article.

Firstly we have Mark Cavendish, who is one of, if not the best sprinters of all time. The Manx Missile has won 23 stages of the Tour de France so far in his career, making him the most successful sprinter of all time at cycling’s showcase event. He has also won 10 stages of the Giro d’Italia, and 3 stages of the Vuelta a Espana, along with being winner of Milan-San Remo. However his greatest achievement may well be becoming Britain’s first World Champion since Tommy Simpson, when he won the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen in 2011.

Now Cavendish joined Team Sky at the start of the 2012 season, after his team HTC-Columbia disbanded. Many saw this as an interesting move, as it was well stated by Team Sky that they wanted to target the yellow jersey in the Tour, which meant Cavendish would have to all but give up on his green jersey hopes. However Cavendish has made the 2012 Olympic Road Race his target, so that wasn’t a problem at the recent Tour. Cavendish himself has said on twitter that he was happy to be part of the history making team, who helped Bradley Wiggins win the Tour in 2012.

However now that has been done, and Team Sky have stated there ambition to win the Yellow again next year, will Cavendish want to move to a team where he is the leader? I think he would, mainly for the fact I think that Cavendish has Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins at the Tour de France in his sights. This past year was his worst year in terms of stage wins at the Tour (only 3 stage wins, hardly that bad is it!) but with a dedicated team I think he could beat that record of Merckx’s quite easily. Also only having one green jersey to his name, I think he has ambitions of winning more of these to cement his name in the history books. And to achieve these goals I believe he harbours, you need a team that is riding for you, and not for the general classification. Therefore I believe that Cavendish will leave Team Sky at the end of this season, and with Dave Brailsford coming out in the press and stating that he would allow Cavendish to leave I think it is pretty much a certainty.

Our second rider whose future is undecided is the exciting Chris Froome. Froome came to prominence at the 2011 Vuelta, with an astonishing performance which saw him finish 2nd overall behind race winner Juan Jose Cobo. Froome also finished 2nd overall behind Bradley Wiggins in the most recent Tour de France. Froome has been used as the main domestique in both those Grand Tours which makes his achievements all the more special. Many believe he could have won both those races if allowed.

Froome’s future at Team Sky has been speculated about, mainly because many feel he would want to become the main team leader for future Tour de France’s. Some have questioned Froome’s leadership qualities, which we will find out more about at this year’s Vuelta where he has been confirmed as Team Sky’s main man. If Froome proves himself there, the question will be will they get behind Froome or Wiggins for the 2013 Tour de France. The route is expected to suit Froome more than Wiggins, with more climbs and summit finishes for the 100th anniversary of the race itself.

People have wondered whether Froome should leave to get a dedicated team behind him; however I believe he would be a fool to leave Team Sky. The main reason being, Team Sky offers the best training, equipment and has the best technology out of all the cycling teams, due to the financial advantages they have. With this Sky are able to get the optimum performance out of there riders, whereas at other teams this isn’t always the case. If Froome left Team Sky, he would not get all of these advantages that Sky offer, which although small details, are very important to winning a Grand Tour. Also Team Sky would offer some of the best domestiques in the peloton, as showed at the recent Tour. I personally don’t think Froome will leave Sky, however I could see why he would want to.

So as we progress into the 2013 season, I expect to see Chris Froome in the Team Sky jersey, however I think Mark Cavendish will be wearing a different colour altogether.

by Olly

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Adam D on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 7:30 am

http://v2journal.com/should-mark-cavendish-and-chris-froome-leave-team-sky.html

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 9:49 am

What do you think then guys? Should they?
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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by dummy_half on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 10:45 am

Good article Olly

The last TdF team that managed to maintain both a credible GC candidate and a green jersey contender (multiple winner) was Deutche Telekom, with Ullrich and Zabel in the late 90s/early 00s. One of the advantages they had in doing this was that Ullrich liked to get involved in the lead-out train in the first week to sharpen his form up (he was notorious for gaining weight over the winter and still looking ot shed the last 1-2kg in the first week of the Tour). The other point was that Ullrich was usually the challenger to Armstrong and USPS / Discovery, so it wasn't usually up to DT to make the pace in the mountains - Ullrich would just follow and attempt to grind everyone into submission.

Sky's situation is (at least was for this TdF) somewhat different, in that they were the team making the race in the mountains, and as such had few resources to assist Cavendish. You are right to say that 3 stage wins is still very good, but is a little way short of his performances of the last 2 or 3 years, and he wasn't really in contention for the green jersey.

The question is though, where does Cav go if he leaves Sky? He's on big money, so there are perhaps only half a dozen teams can afford him. Won't be going to Lotto (already have Greipel), BMC (because they are mainly a GC team) or Radioshack (skint). Rabobank would be a possibility, especially as I believe Friere is retiring, or perhaps Garmin (Farrar appears to have lost his sprint speed).

Froome I think is well set at Sky - he'll be team leader at the Vuelta. Next year, especially if Cav leaves, Sky will probably include Uran in the Tour team as an additional mountain domestique de luxe (hell, Olympic silver medallist and iirc 8th in the Giro this year indicates he's a very good rider), and they'll have Suistsou back as additional help on the climbs, so Froome could have a role with less responsibility that this year (where he was exceptional as Wiggins's sidekick).

Only thing I disagree with in your piece is the suggestion that Froome would have won this year's Tour if he'd been allowed - he might have gapped Wiggins on the last mountain stage, but not by enough to offset his ITT deficits. Other climing stages there was nothing much between them.


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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 11:04 am

Thanks Dummy although I believe I said many believe Froome could have won the Tour, I agree with you Wiggins was better this year.

Cavendish wise, I wouldn't be surprised if he was in a new team altogether. I mean we get at least 1 new one every season, so I wouldn't be that shocked to see Cav in a new team.

Imagine Sky's line up at the next TDF if Cav leaves:
Wiggins
Froome
Rogers
Porte
EBH
Siutsou
Uran
Knees
(Then one more, maybe a Thomas or there other young colombian Henao)

That would be one heck of a team
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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by dummy_half on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 11:15 am

Olly

good point about Cav as being a good signing to a new team - he pretty much guarantees some race wins, so would generate publicity for a new outfit. Also, it's relatively easy to build a strong team round a sprinter - you just need some big and strong guys who like riding quickly; much easier to find than climbing domestiques.

Not heard any rumours of a big new squad for next season though - by this time last year the Green Edge team was already taking shape.

Oh, and expect Geraint Thomas to be back in Sky's prime road team next year. He'll be looking to build on last year's good perfromances in the Spring Classics as well as being a very solid all rounder domestique for Wiggins and Froome (pity he wasn't available for the Olympic road race, as he's stronger than either Stannard or Millar).

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 11:21 am

I think we'll see Thomas a lot more in the Spring Classics next season, as Brailsford has stated that Sky were **** in the classics and is looking to improve there as well.

I know what you are saying about the new team thing, but if you are a new team with Cavendish, you are basically guaranteed entry to the TDF and multiple stage wins, and that is worth a lot to a sponsor. Also you get Eisel as well lol
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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Big on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 11:41 am

Cav will almost certainly go - the fact that Brailsford has come out and openly said that he can leave is as good an indicator as any that they know they can't support him properly with GC aspirations as their priority. I'd have thought Rabobank is an option. However, he is worth a heck of a lot to sponsors on his own and with the right negotiations he could join one of the lower teams along with a bunch of good support riders, and of course a new wealthy backer/sponsor to fund it all.

I expect Froome to stay with Sky. He will get his GC chance very soon and will be aware that he is performing better in their set up than he has elsewhere. Lets not forget that he may not have performed nearly so well at the Tour if he hadn't had the very professional Sky set up supporting him behind the scenes.

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Guest on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 2:44 pm

Cavendish won three stages, and would have contended in at least one other if he hadn't have been involved in a crash. He also lost muscle weight in preparation for the Olympics, which disadvantaged him in the TdF sprints. If a team comes for him, makes him the team leader, gets good supporting cyclists, and gives him a lot of dosh, then he would move. Otherwise I am sure he will stay put for at least another year. He knew what he was getting himself into when he moved to Sky last year after the collapse of HTC.

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Big on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 4:55 pm

Did Cav leave because HTC crashed or was it the other way round??

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Guest on Thu 02 Aug 2012, 7:48 pm

At the time it was said that Cavendish would have to look for another team because the HTC team hadn't been able to renew their major sponsor or find an alternative. I think it was known for some time that the HTC team was going to go out of business.

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by JDizzle on Fri 10 Aug 2012, 12:23 am

As expected Froome has been confirmed by Team Sky as Team Leader for the upcoming Vuelta d'Espana, starting on the 18th August. Can't wait for this now, especially with the other big names about this should be brilliant!

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by dummy_half on Tue 14 Aug 2012, 9:14 am

Strong rumour that Patrick Lefevre of Omega Pharma-QuickStep would be interested in signing Cav if Sky allow him to leave (noting that he is still contracted to Sky for at least next season). Cav and Boonen in the same team - could be a good move for Cav if he seriously wants to become a Classics rider as his absolute sprint speed starts to fade.

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue 14 Aug 2012, 10:55 pm

dummy_half wrote:Strong rumour that Patrick Lefevre of Omega Pharma-QuickStep would be interested in signing Cav if Sky allow him to leave (noting that he is still contracted to Sky for at least next season). Cav and Boonen in the same team - could be a good move for Cav if he seriously wants to become a Classics rider as his absolute sprint speed starts to fade.

I cant see become a Classics rider yet. It's not as if his sprint speed is going, he still won 3 stages of the TDF this year, and wasn't even targeting it. He is still relatively young to be fair
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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by dummy_half on Wed 15 Aug 2012, 9:00 am

Olly

Cav's 27 now - most sprinters start to lose some of their top end speed around 28 or 29, and some of his competitors have closed the gap this year. Be interesting to see if Cav bulks up a bit for next year and if it gives him an increase in top end.

I'm not suggesting Cav tries to make an overnight transition from sprinter to Flanders / Roubaix winner, but he has already talked about looking to challenge for those races in the future (along with San Remo, which he has already won once), and spending a couple of years learning from Boonen and the likes on how best to ride such races will offer the best opportunity to develop the required skills.

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by alfie on Thu 16 Aug 2012, 2:16 pm

Think the final stage in Paris showed Cav is still the clear number one sprinter right now. Rivals may close the gap in time but I fancy he can still enjoy winning stages for a while yet ...Question is , at what point do you say , OK , done that , now for something different...

Cav has already mentioned maybe getting back on the track for Rio , so he seems open to change : will be very interesting to see what he does next. I'm betting he will stay with Sky for now , but...

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 16 Aug 2012, 2:22 pm

I think Cav might have his eyes set on Merckx's record of 34 Tour stage wins as well. It is well within reach in the next 3 years providing he stays injury free
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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by djlovesyou on Thu 16 Aug 2012, 3:21 pm

He really wants an Olympic gold and this was likely his one and only chance on the road this year.

His only hope of Olympic gold in the future will be team pursuit. I think that's why he's keen or at least talking about getting back on to the track.

Cav at Paris-Roubaix seems like an amusing one to me. Can't ever see that one happening.

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by dummy_half on Thu 16 Aug 2012, 3:29 pm

dj
Cav has talked about targetting the Classics in the future - it is the logical transition for sprinters as their speed declines. He clearly has a lot of work to do to get to the point where he would be a serious challenger though.

You're right about the Olympics, and it's clear that the failure in Beijing still rankles a bit (Wiggins was knackered after the IP and TP). The London RR was a course that he could have challenged on, but the race didn't play out on the day (too many good riders in the front group) - actually, I think it turned out to be a very good course for an important one day race, as it was just hard enough to give the attacking riders and opportunists a chance, while the sprinters would have needed two or three teams to combine to keep real control. Rio I assume is going to be too lumpy for the sprinters to challenge on the road, so Cav's chances of a gold will be as a TP rider or perhaps in the omnium (unless there is a return of the points race and/or madison).

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by djlovesyou on Thu 16 Aug 2012, 3:48 pm

I see him as more of a McEwen type sprinter than a Boonen. I'm not sure he's ever even ridden P-R yet.

The closest he's got on the cobbles is Gent-Wevelgem and being in prime position to win the race before being 'unlucky' on the Kemmelberg. Think it's happened a couple of times where 'inferior' riders have caused him to lose contact.

I reckon he should settle himself with having a crack at Milan-San Remo and winning the Schildeprijs whilst saying next year he'll beat them all into Oudenaarde.

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Guest on Sun 19 Aug 2012, 8:10 pm

Has anyone mentioned that Sky may not want Cavendish now that they have tasted success in the Tour De France?

It seems to me they would prefer him to leave before his contract ends so that they don't have to waste any energy helping him on any of the stages.

Bradley Wiggins has been quoted as saying: "Mark Cavendish should leave Team Sky":
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/19313724

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Re: Should Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome leave Team Sky?

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 9:33 am

what Wiggins basically said is that if Cavendish wants to win the Green Jersey again he should leave Sky. That's fair enough: we saw this year that it's pretty much impossible to challenge seriously for the Green if you're after general classification as well. I don't take that as Sky wanting him to leave (Wiggo says "From a selfish point of view, I'd love him to stay."), more as a "he's the world's top sprinter, he deserves a team to back him fully, which we can't with our Yellow Jersey ambitions" viewpoint.

As for the return to the track, I know Cav talked about it, but I wonder if it wasn't a bit in the heat of the moment (and seeing the huge success GB had there). Four years is a long time: in four years Cav will probably be challenging for the record number of TdF stage wins (if he continues at anything like the current rate anyway), which I think is a worthwhile goal. The Classics is of course another option, though like dj I'm not sure I see him as a Boonen type. Certainly has a chance at MSR (arguably his greatest sprint still), and if the course suits him more World Championships aren't out of the question.

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