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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Mark Cavendish to retire at end of season

BBC Sport posted this:

Mark Cavendish, one of Britain's most successful cyclists, will retire at the end of the season.

In 2021 he equalled the legendary Eddy Merckx's record of 34 Tour de France stage victories.

During a news conference at the Giro d'Italia, Cavendish, 38, said: "Cycling has been my life for over 25 years. It's taught me so much about life, dedication, loyalty, sacrifice and perseverance - all important things to pass on now as a father."

He added: "The bike's given me opportunities to see the world, meet incredible people who are involved and not involved in the sport - a lot of whom I call friends.

"Today it's my son Casper's fifth birthday; it's a rest day and I can spend that with them now. Now it's important to be there for every birthday, every school concert - important I can be there for them."

Cavendish enjoyed a glittering career as a sprinter, taking victories on the flatter, faster stages of races, particularly in the Grand Tours.

He has won 161 races since 2005 and two green points jerseys at the Tour.

Mark Cavendish in green at the 2016 Tour de France. Sirotti photo

Cavendish's other major achievements include an omnium silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 2011 Road World Championships rainbow jersey, the 2009 Milano-San Remo 'monument' one-day classic, 16 stage wins in the Giro and three in the Vuelta a Espana.

He is currently riding for Astana Qazaqstan in the Giro, which ends in Rome on Sunday.

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Cavendish experienced injury and illness from 2017, hinting at the end of the 2020 season that he could retire.

But following a return to form the following year he won four more Tour stages and the green jersey in his second spell with the successful Quick Step team, who helped reinvigorate his career.

He was omitted from Quick Step's Tour squad the following year, after which he signed for Astana Qazaqstan for 2023.

He will attempt to break the Tour stage win record at this year's race, which begins in Bilbao, Spain, on 1 July.

He added: "This is a perfect opportunity to say with absolute joy in my heart that this will be my final season as a professional cyclist.

"Right now there's no need to talk about my short- and long-term plans - I'll always be a cyclist, that's for sure.

"But for this final period I'd like to just enjoy doing what's made me happy for the last 25 years, and that's simply to race."

You can read the entire piece here.

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Team DSM looks back on the first two weeks of the 2023 Giro d’Italia

The team posted this:

After a magical first week where the team held onto the pink jersey for five days with Andreas Leknessund in the race lead, week two at the Giro d’Italia saw the Norwegian return to wearing Team DSM’s distinguished two stripe jersey, as the team set to continue their fighting spirit and showing themselves on all fronts of the race.

Andreas Leknessund in pink after stage four. Sirotti photo

Racing action returned on stage ten where the team committed and attempted to close down the day’s breakaway, but a tough parcours, terrible weather conditions and a strong group out front make it hard to do, with Marius Mayrhofer ultimately sprinting to just outside the top ten as those out front fought for the stage win, ahead of a very reduced peloton. Unfortunately, the day would also see Martijn Tusveld abandon the race after a culmination of his injuries from his previous crashes.

The following stage would see a nervous affair in the peloton with a few crashes and a chase to catch the breakaway. This time the peloton would make no mistake though and the fast men would battle it out for stage honours, with Mayrhofer picking up yet another top ten placing in the finale. Stage 12 would unfortunately see Harm Vanhoucke step off the bike, suffering from gastric complaints and ongoing fatigue after what was a brutal few days of racing.

Tough conditions continued and stage 13 would be shortened due to bad weather, but with the summit finish atop Crans-Montana still lying in wait for the riders. The shorter nature made for an explosive start before things became more controlled in the peloton, with the break taking the stage honours. Nonetheless, those near the top of the order in the GC still duked it out in the closing kilometres, with Leknessund hanging tough and coming across the line a handful of seconds behind the pink jersey group.

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A big battle for the breakaway on Saturday’s stage saw Mayrhofer, with the help of the guys, infiltrate a large group of 27 riders that went clear. Building up a large advantage it was obvious they would go on to fight for the stage win and things became incredibly tactical. As several teams had numbers in the group, Mayrhofer had to bide his time and chose the right moment to go on the attack; pushing the pace over an uncategorised climb which drew a group clear. Going all-in to try and fight for stage glory, Mayrhofer helped to drive the group and they would ultimately catch those ahead inside the last kilometre. Giving everything he had, Mayrhofer would have to settle for a hard-earned seventh place in the end; after a big fight out front.

Sunday’s day of racing once again saw the break fight for stage honours, with Alberto Dainese making the initial move for the team. However, over the challenging climbs he would have to let go of the break, and soon after the bunch, but he showed brilliant fighting spirit to make it to the line in Bergamo within the time cut. In the peloton, the guys worked well to position Leknessund who once again showed his strength and followed the best in the bunch over the punchy climb and fast descent into Bergamo.

All eyes turn to the final week of racing where some brutal stages and more opportunities for the team to show themselves await, but first, we’re sure the guys (and you all at home), will enjoy today’s rest day!

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