Reports: Mark Cavendish expected to retire at the end of the 2023 season
Mark Cavendish will announce his retirement tomorrow during the rest day of the Giro d’Italia, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
The Manxman is expected to say that the 2023 season will be the last of his 17 years in the professional peloton.
He is still set to ride the Tour de France in July, where he is aiming to win one more stage to extend his career tally to 35, and therefore become the outright record holder for the highest number of Tour stage wins ahead of Eddy Merckx. But after that, it is unclear whether he will race again.
Cavendish is currently competing in the Giro d’Italia, and celebrated his 38th birthday on Sunday. He hasn’t won a stage yet, but did place third behind Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) and Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) on stage 11, and was fourth on stage five despite crashing dramatically over the finish line.
There were doubts about Cavendish’s future during the offseason, during which time he struggled to find a new team after Soudal-QuickStep chose not to extend his contract. But in January he signed for Astana Qazaqstan.
"I’ve enjoyed a long career already, but the joy of riding my bike and the hunger to continue winning are as bright as ever," he said when he joined the Kazakh team. "So I’m looking forward to being part of a successful team, whether working with the team for wins, crossing the line first myself, or cheering on my teammates.
"As always, the objective will be for us to stand on the top podium."
There had been rumours in 2020 that Cavendish was set to bow out of the sport, after years of struggles with illness and injury left him struggling for form and to find a new contract.
But after signing for Deceuninck-QuickStep, he mounted a stunning comeback, rediscovering his very best form and winning four stages at the 2021 Tour de France.
During that Tour he equalled Merckx’s record of 34 career Tour stage wins, and has since been trying to break the record outright.
Cavendish has been one of the most successful cyclists the sport has ever seen, and by most accounts is the greatest ever sprinter. He is without exception the rider with the most wins to emerge out of the British Isles.
His career win tally is currently at 161, including victories at Milan-Sanremo, the World Championships in 2011, and stages at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.