HomeTravelMark Cavendish admits 'big mistake' in Tour of Türkiye opening sprint

Mark Cavendish admits ‘big mistake’ in Tour of Türkiye opening sprint


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Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) has blamed his own ‘big mistake’ for his result in the opening stage of the Tour of Türkiye, where he finished 15th.

The Brit is returning to racing for the first time in a month and a half after struggling with illness after Tirreno-Adriatico, and is using the sprint-friendly stage race as a key stepping stone towards his big Tour de France goals this summer.

However, the first stage didn’t quite go to plan, with Cavendish failing to finish in the top 10 after moving off the wheel of his final lead-out rider in the final kilometre. He finished 15th, with his teammate Davide Ballerini in 14th.

The stage was won by Fabio Jakobsen (dsm-firmenich PostNL), his first victory of 2024.

“It’s the first stage of Tour of Türkiye done. My team rode incredible, and do you know what I did? I left my lead-out man in the final to follow another train,” Cavendish explained in an Instagram story after the stage.

“And that was a big mistake, because Ballerini did an incredible job.”

Cavendish appeared to try to follow the Alpecin-Deceuninck lead-out, and then Bora-Hansgrohe, but found himself alone heading towards the line, and never quite launched his sprint, instead looking around for Ballerini, but it was too late.

Ballerini is one of the riders Cavendish brought with him from a previous train – they rode together at Quick-Step – but it seems they’re still working on the perfect formula.

“So let that be a lesson,” Cavendish continued. “All you aspiring bike riders, sprinters: do not leave your lead-out man.”

Cavendish has big goals ahead this season, namely a record-breaking 35th stage win at the Tour de France, and he is racing a string of stage races in preparation to hone his lead-out and build momentum and confidence into July.

With Jakobsen and Sam Welsford (Bora-Hansgrohe) the only other top-tier sprinters in the race in Turkey, Cavendish should expect to be challenging for the top results this week, as he aims to add to his one win so far this season, taken at the Tour Colombia in February.

The Tour of Türkiye continues on Tuesday, with at least three more sprint finishes expected before the final day on Sunday, and plenty of chances for Cavendish and the Astana Qazaqstan lead-out to get it right.

For the latest news, interviews and analysis from the world of professional cycling, be sure to check out the Racing tab on the GCN website.

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