Mark Cavendish’s emotional declaration that “that was perhaps my last race” after Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday sparked an outpouring of warmth towards a rider who has long been a national treasure for British bike racing fans. Many took to social media with messages of support for the Bahrain-McLaren rider, reflecting on how much he meant to them, and with hopes that he would be able to continue racing, that were echoed by some of the sport’s biggest commentators.
“It was upsetting to see, first and foremost, nobody likes to see my grand champion in tears like that,” said former team manager and commentator Brian Smith. “This was a year that he wanted to get back to the top of cycling, and he hasn’t been able to do that. I think he was relying on some of these races at the back end of the season to show what he could do.”
Commentator Phil Liggett said he hoped Cavendish had been speaking in the moment and that he would find a way to continue: “I’m hoping it’s an emotion, which is natural. Because he’s struggled with his sicknesses and finding his form again. As I said in that little tweet, he’s a champion, and still is, he’s a terrific ambassador of our sport.”
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October 15, 2020