Cavendish to Kick of 2022 in the Middle East
Legendary sprinter Mark Cavendish will finally make his season debut on Thursday when he takes to the start line at the Tour of Oman.
The 36-year-old has suffered a delayed start to 2022 following a series of unfortunate setbacks, first puncturing a lung and breaking two ribs at the Ghent Six event back in November, before suffering a terrifying ordeal after armed burglars threatened him and his family while recovering at home.
The Manxman has recently spent time at a second QuickStep-AlphaVinyl training camp in Portugal after the team’s usual camp in Calpe, Spain. While long-standing team manager Patrick Lefevere recently said it was ‘too early’ to say if Cavendish will ride at this year’s Tour de France and potentially surpass Eddy Mercx’s stage wins record, it looks like a swift return to the tour for the veteran who will be looking to establish himself as a mainstay for QuickStep this year.
Cavendish has raced in Oman three times previously throughout his career, with one of his 156 overall victories coming on the final day of the 2011 edition. There are likely to be there sprint stages in this week’s race, presenting a perfect opportunity for him to get back on track and continue his breathtaking renaissance.
Speaking to the press in Oman, he said, “I think everybody coming into a new season looks forward to starting to see their shape.
“You don’t really know. It doesn’t matter how you’re going until you compare yourself with the other people.
“We’re here with a group that can come work okay, across all terrains. There are possibly three sprint opportunities this year, but we have Masnada for the GC. It’s a big climb up Green Mountain and you have to come prepared for all terrains, you know. It’s not an easy a few days here.
“But it’s a brilliant preparation race for the bigger races coming up. It’s nice here in Oman – I’ve been here a few times and I enjoy the race. It’s a beautiful place to ride.”
Cavendish will face stiff sprinting competition however when he lines up on Thursday, with likes of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), and Amaury Capiot (Arkéa-Samsic) likely to be in the running.