Mark Cavendish has said that at this stage in his career, any success ‘from now is a bonus’ and he is focusing on helping his Deceuninck-Quickstep team succeed.
The 35-year-old Manx rider is coming off the back of four stage wins at the Tour of Turkey, reaching 150 career wins in the process.
Joining the Belgian team has given him a late career resurgence when it appeared that 2020 might have been his last season in competitive road cycling.
UCI Road World Championships: Full schedule and top riders
- Colbrelli sprints to Romandie win, Dennis remains in yellow
- Sagan claims Tour de Romandie first stage
- Recap: Which teams 'won' the Spring Classics campaign and which must do better...
Speaking on the team’s website, Cavendish said: “I have so much to say thank you for.
“The Tour of Turkey is not the Tour de France, but just to win again after some years of physical and psychological difficulties is something special. To be able to do it with The Wolfpack is a dream come true. Raising my hands is super emotional, as I felt a lot of people had just given up on me over the last years. But Patrick believed in me, I owe him so much. He is my hero.”
With the Grand Tours now on the horizon, there has been speculation that Cavendish could feature at the Giro or Tour de France as the team’s sprinter, but he appears ready to wait for any other opportunities at major events.
Highlights: Inspired Cavendish wins tense Stage 8 in Turkey
“Now I’m at home and it feels really nice to spend some time with my family after having been away for so many weeks,” he wrote.
“I’ll work towards my next races now. I want to help the team where and when is possible and enjoy every day on the bike with The Wolfpack [his team’s self-designated nickname], because whatever comes from now on is a bonus.”
Cavendish was delighted to be back to winning ways, but also noted the successful return to competitive cycling for Fabio Jakobsen, who has endured a succession of surgeries after his huge accident at the Tour de Pologne last year.
“It was incredible coming over the finish line first, something I’ve missed for three years,” Cavendish explained.
‘I never get tired of that feeling’ – Cavendish on return to form
"I hadn’t won four stages in a race since the 2016 Tour de France. It's a crazy statement, because there are very few riders in history that could talk about winning four stages in a race. But just winning a race, that’s all I wanted to do once more.
“We had a great week and enjoyed ourselves. We can’t complain about winning half of the stages. It’s amazing seeing the guys work for me and afterwards celebrating together. Especially Fabio, having done this Tour of Turkey with him is incredible. I remember him as a neo-pro, I’ve seen him grow. I was there in Poland last year and to have him in the team with us now is great, it’s a big step seeing him back in the bunch after what happened.
“The pride for me that he was involved in the four wins is enormous. Deceuninck – Quick-Step is special, it’s a family. We win together and we lose together.”
Lefevere: Cav thinks it's time to cash in, but Jakobsen will ride the Tour
‘My proudest moment’ – Wiggins recalls helping Cavendish to world glory in 2011