Mark Cavendish is apparently ‘super excited’ about signing a contract to ride for MTN Qhubeka (shortly to be renamed as Dimension Data) next year.
Which is a relief.
You see, in Cav’s world, to be plain-old happy or excited is simply not an acceptable way to feel.
I imagine that if Cav says he’s ‘happy’ about something what that really means, reading between the lines, is that he has a festering sense of frustration and disappointment bubbling very close to the surface, but not yet close enough to cause him to vent his feelings.
Apparently when Cav vents his feelings everyone knows about it.
But ‘super happy’ is great. That’s where we want to be. Cav’s ‘super happy’ is our ‘happy’.
So when he tells the media he’s ‘super excited’ to be signing for MTN Qhubeka I reckon that’s good news for everyone. Figuratively speaking, we’re all in Cav’s happy place.
Or should that be his ‘super happy’ place?
Personally, I’m not surprised by Cav’s apparent new lease of life; in signing for his new team along with Mark Renshaw and Bernie Eisel he’s getting the band back together!
As three major components of the mighty HTC team a handful of years ago – the team who invented the modern lead-out train and helped Cavendish hoover up a frankly implausible amount of big race wins – these guys were like a well-oiled machine.
Sure, they might have a few wispy grey hairs in their beards these days (apart from the resolutely clean-shaven Aussie Renshaw), and Eisel might have a bit of adjusting to do after being comfortable in the Team Sky bubble for a few years, with its plush tour bus and Rapha stylings, but from the outside looking in their new team looks like a great place to be.
They managed a good handful of high profile wins in 2015 and although they’re not messing around here, you do get a sense that it isn’t quite the uber-professional results obsessed environment of Cav’s now former employers, Belgium’s biggest pro team Ettixx Quick-Step.
Apart from the three amigos MTN-Qhubeka have built up a decent stable of riders too:
You’ve got Steve Cummings, all-round free spirit and the man who muscled in on a little French squabble between Thibaut Pinot and Roman Bardet to win Stage 14 of the 2015 Tour de France.
Eddie Boasen-Hagan, winner of the 2015 Tour of Britain and a man for whom every stage, it seems, is ‘just taylor made for Edvald’. He’ll finish around fifth in almost every race he rides.
Daniel Teklahaimanot, the Eritrean who wore the polka dot jersey for several days in the 2015 Tour de France and was generous enough to bring along his own singing, dancing, African fan club to the back roads of northern France.
And Tyler Farrar who, tragically these days is sporting a pony tail.
Sort it out Farrar, you’re letting the side down. You’re not Laurent Fignon y’know!
The other side to this story is the team’s continuing link with Qhubeka, the charity who are World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa dedicated to advancing the education, health and economic opportunities of people by providing simple and sustainable transport.
As Cavendish said, “one of the biggest incentives is riding for a greater cause in the Qhubeka charity”.
The Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycle is designed to be rugged and suitable for carrying heavy loads, and by donating these to people in need the charity has a significant positive impact on people’s lives and opportunities.
I could make an easy joke here about racing on a Qhubeka Buffalo being a step down from the Specialized S-Works that Cavendish is used to, but I won’t.
Suffice to say that when Cav seems to be ‘super excited’ about the greater cause too, that’s good news for everyone involved.