He was known as ‘Handsome Bernie’ in these parts. Putting the o man! in bromance. His retirement announcement this week causing men, women, children, animals, the length and breadth of the continent, to find a collective bit of grit in their collective eye.
Tears undoubtedly flowed.
Glory days, of course, are long gone.
A decade ago these three formed the potent prongs of a spectacular trident and won, as HTC Colombia, and according to best estimates, tens of thousands of bike races. Lots of Cavendish’s thirty Tour de France stages were tearfully dedicated to these two pals.
There were late career rumours of an Elon Musk fronted project to harness the chemical energy generated by the tight bonds of their famed ménage a trois, convert it into time molecules, reverse the polarisation, and make a physiological leap back to 2009.
The golden era.
When back of the bus brotherly love was the oil that greased the wheels of the HTC Colombia Team. Along with the actual oil that greased the actual wheels, of course. The brotherly love had it’s limits.
Alas, Musk got distracted by building a massive electromagnetic escalator between the clouds in the sky (or something) and the time travel never got off the ground.
Things unravelled for the chaps.
Cavendish contracted Epstein Barr. Eisel had a crash and suffered a serious brain injury. Renshaw continued to manage a chronic bout of genetic Australianism.
With the passing of time, retirements became inevitable. Glorious careers petered out wonderfully into cameos and footnotes (Eisel, at the Tour of Britain, stopping at a burger van mid stage for a bite to eat before a climb, for example).
And, like the lone rifleman in a WW1 movie, gazing across no-man’s land to soak up the tragedy of those who have fallen, Cavendish now finds himself alone. Clad in the god-awful orange fade of the horribly corporate Bahrain McLaren pro cycling team and hoping for one final hurrah.
Without Bernie. Without Renshaw. Without Elon Musk and his freaky robot-brain.
The final chapter.