Yesterday, Cyclingnews reported that Rabobank has signed Mark Renshaw, and will support him as their number one sprinter. This comes as something of a surprise this transfer season, as it was widely speculated that HTC’s Mark Cavendish was looking to bring his leadout train with him to his new destination – likely to be Team Sky.
It raises several questions about the futures of Renshaw, Cavendish, and the Grand Tour terrain:
- Are Renshaw’s career prospects better as a leadout man than as a sprinter? Can he alone ever get the glory and recognition he got as Cav’s Main Man?
- Is this the end to Cavendish’s Grand Tour sprint dominance? We’ve seen him win and lose with and without his leadout train, and while he’s won without it, the control that his leadout train provides is a major source of his deathgrip on July sprinting.
- Is the dissolution of HTC, built around supporting Cavendish’s final 200 meters, the beginning of the end of sprint dominance, in general? Without riders like Tony Martin and Bert Grabsch flying HTC’s colors at the front of break-or-sprint stages, there could be more breaks staying away.
- Following HTC’s surprising demise, we can’t help but wonder if Cavendish could have played a more active role in keeping the team together. Remember that Thomas Voeckler stayed committed to the former Bbox Bouygues Telecom, during its hunt for a new sponsor – thus anchoring the team’s roster, attracting Europcar, and paving the way for what has turned out to be an incredible season. Early though it may be to call Cav’s career in decline, might he come to regret not doing exactly what Voeckler did, in order to keep his fully-loaded leadout train together?
What are your thoughts on the Renshaw transfer and the Cavendish speculation? Share them below.