Mark Renshaw has not ruled out the future possibility of reuniting with Mark Cavendish having experienced firsthand the challenges of pursuing sprint success in a team with general classification orientation.
The lead-out specialist Renshaw left the service of Cavendish – after three successful years at HTC-Highroad – to pursue his own opportunities as marquee sprinter at Rabobank this season.
But both he and Cavendish (Sky) had limited help at the Tour de France in July with their respective teams focused on a yellow jersey assault.
“You never know what can happen, I told him that when I left, it’s a small world and there could be a chance that we hook-up again,” Renshaw told Cycling Weekly. “I enjoyed working with him. I’m never going to rule out riding with him again.”
Renshaw was forced to withdraw from the Tour during the 11th stage after enduring a series of crashes throughout and said he only had one day in amongst those to test himself as an out-and-out sprinter.
“I didn’t really have any support within the team. The first day I had some help from Maarten Tjallingii but then, the next day, he broke his hip so any help I did have was all gone after that. I think it just proves that you can’t go anywhere without a team in those big races,” he said.
A reunion with Cavendish in 2013 is unlikely despite speculation the latter will get out of his Sky contract with the British outfit having realised its aim of winning the Tour, with Brad Wiggins, this year and likely to want to do it again.
“No, not next year, not unless he comes to Rabobank,” Renshaw said.
“I think he’s probably got a lot of options. I’d be a little surprised if Sky let him go on one hand but on the other I can see why he’d like to leave. It’s a big decision, and it’s quite hard, but ultimately he’s the best sprinter in the peloton, so maybe some respect from the team to give him the support he needs.”
Renshaw is on a two-year deal at Rabobank – a team he said traditionally doesn’t make big changes to its roster and one that will likely back overall contenders Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema at the Tour again next season.
“It’s not a great position for me but I think I just need to have a good start of the year and try and enforce that I need to be there and that I can still get results,” he said.
Renshaw’s best result at the Tour was a ninth place on stage two. He claimed his first stage victory of the season on ANZAC Day at the Tour of Turkey in April and has been, if nothing else, consistent with top three stage finishes in almost every race started including the Giro d’Italia.
The 29-year-old was in Annecy, France yesterday to see his trainer and begin work on an off-season program.
“I just continue with how it’s gone now. I’m definitely at a good level it’s just the final of the races where we need more support from a few more of the guys and a bit better positioning,” he said.
Renshaw has four races remaining this season including Sunday’s GP Quest France – Plouay as well as the World Ports Classic (August 31- September 1), another one-day race in Europe and then Paris-Brussels (September 8).
He and his wife, Kristina, are expecting their first child, a boy, on September 23.
Renshaw is likely to start the 2013 season at the Australian national road championships in January but has not yet outlined any major objectives.
“I really want to have a good start to the season at the Tour Down Under and Tour of Qatar again and then maybe place a little bit more emphasis on the classics and trying to get through those races,” he said. “Once the classics season stops then you have to refocus on the sprint stages of some of the tours.”