Mark Cavendish believes cycling has changed completely over the past few years: "It’s worlds apart from when I started"

At the UAE Tour, Mark Cavendish struggled to obtain results but performed with a new leadout that he is hoping to take into Tour de France glory. In his 21st season as a pro cyclist, the Manxman thinks the current peloton is a world apart than previous decades.

“I’m pretty sure it’s my last year. You cannot imagine how much cycling has changed;" Cavendish said in an interview with GCN. "I think there have been three or four iterations of cycling. It was more closed. The whole world has changed with information and the things that are available. We raced, and the race was reported on. Now, it’s everything you do…Pro cycling was a closer community. Everyone knew each other, we all knew we had a similar kind of job and were all in it together. Then the stakes became higher, there was more money involved, and that changes everything in life, doesn’t it?"

Cavendish began his career still in the 2000's and in there he began to build on a historic career that will stand the test of time. He was HTC's and the Tour de France's star sprinter, then Britain's Team Sky star, then experienced the same at Soudal - Quick-Step... Over the past few years he then experienced a roller-coaster in his career but still stands at 38 years of age, looking to win for the 35th time at the Tour de France and become the first rider in the sport's history to do the same.

Seeking this objective, he has been able to observe very visible differences at the top of the sport over the year. “In terms of sporting side, there were teams that came along. Sky came along and instead of it being slow then fast - there were two speeds - there was one constant tempo, and it changed the demographic of riders," he tells.

"You had to be able to sustain a high tempo the whole day. Science came in, data was able to be analysed, and riders were no longer picked on if they could win races or not; it was on how strong they were," he says. Arguably, it has also become regular to see sprinters who can climb or ride the cobbled classics with the best, creating difficulties for pure sprinters like the Manxman. "That changed things a bit then because there were only a couple of riders who could win races, and now everyone is strong."

The level is higher a the top but specially all around the peloton. “It has kind of gone full circle, it’s just that the level’s gone higher because of that. I’m lucky I’ve been able to adapt to that and see it," Cavendish believes. "But it’s worlds apart from when I started, that’s for sure.”

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