It's not about the bike - Or is it?
Just when you thought the Mark Cavendish transfer rumors were all said and done, another possibility has been added.
several (training, racing, spare) bikes. Could it be that in 2012 he's switching to Specialized and this is his passive aggressive way to let people know he's not happy about it. In the press Wiggo hasn't gone out of his way to be welcoming regarding the idea of Cavendish joining the Team Sky fold. Things are going to get a bit tense on the Sky bus come July.
While all of this gives pundits like myself plenty to write about (for which I am eternally grateful) but the whole "where is Cavendish going in 2012" drama is getting a bit old. For those who follow basketball it reminds me of the LeBron James, "I'm taking my talents to Miami" saga. In the end, when the Heat lost the championships people weren't so much rooting for the Miami team to lose as they were James. I'm hoping that all this "will he, won't he" b.s. doesn't take the shine off his world championship bands and we start rooting for whomever he's sprinting against. But here's my two-cents on what's going to happen.
- Omega Pharma - QuickStep is going to race on Specialized bikes and helmets next year. Like I mentioned, the Big S needs to grab back some spring time publicity from Trek (Fabian Cancellara), BMC (Philippe Gilbert), and Cervélo (Johan Van Summeren). Boonen is a solid bet during that time of year and perhaps his crappy 2011 season will motivate him to step it up in 2012. New addition Levi Leipheimer has a strong relationship with Specialized and according to Velonews, the fact that he was going to be back on a Specialized rig was a factor for joining the squad. Also Martin is familiar with the bike from his HTC days and can be depended on to rack up a few summer time victories as well. You can look for the team Venges (or is the plural Vengi?) to be kitted out with SRAM Red as well. I emailed SRAM last week to ask if Leipheimer was part of the deal for SRAM becoming an equipment supplier for the team. The response I have received so far was, "Great questions" followed by, "Let me reach out to someone else that can assist." That was over a week ago ... By just using my educated guesses I'm going to say that SRAM and by default Zipp (owned by SRAM) will be part of the Omega Pharma - Quick-Step package.
- Team Sky will continue to ride Italian bike company Pinarello. Also, Mark Cavendish will make an announcement later this month making it official. Yeah I'm sure he has a deep love for his Specialized, but I think if there are enough zeros in his contract he'll forget all about his previous rig. Let's remember, dating a model isn't cheap. Just ask Charlie Sheen...
My good buddy on Twitter, @UCI_Overlord still strongly disagrees with my educated guesses, but I feel good about this.
Postscript - After I wrote this piece Roadcycling.com reported that in fact Omega Pharma - Quick-Step is going to be riding