• Still The Two Of Us... Mark Cavendish (L) and loyal lead-out man, Mark Renshaw. (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Following a difficult Tour de France, Australian lead-out specialist Mark Renshaw has reaffirmed his loyalty to sprinter Mark Cavendish as the pair continues respective contract negotiations.
By
Sophie Smith

5 Aug 2015 - 9:48 AM  UPDATED 5 Aug 2015 - 8:40 PM

Cavendish's future at Etixx-Quick-Step was reported as far from assured at the Tour where he fell short of demands, and Renshaw was forced to abandon in the third week through illness.

The dynamic duo are both out of contract this season and while managed by different rider agents, are set to travel to the same destination in 2016, wherever that may be.

"Absolutely that's the case," Renshaw told Cycling Central from his Monaco base on Tuesday.

"We saw that Greipel took big motivation from the first day and Cav' maybe had a little bit of doubt. In the end that set the precedent for the Tour."

"There are a few options but at this moment the market is quite tough; there's less and less money in cycling, so finding the best one is proving to be a bit difficult... they (the agents) are still trying to work out which (team) it will be."

Cavendish was insubstantially linked to both MTN-Qhubeka and Trek during the Tour, where his single win in Fougères on the seventh stage paled in comparison to Andre Greipel's four unparalleled victories with Lotto Soudal.

Greipel won the first road stage and in so doing began a stint in the green jersey before claiming another three stages, including the Paris final, in a race that included fewer opportunities for fast-men this year.

"Stress and motivation works a lot in sprinting. We saw that Greipel took big motivation from the first day and Cav' maybe had a little bit of doubt. In the end that set the precedent for the Tour," Renshaw said.

The 32-year-old has more or less mirrored Cavendish's race program this year, and, with the exception of the Tour de Suisse in June, was light on WorldTour-ranked races, which the former said made no difference to their Tour preparation and performance. "Maybe the start of the season was lacking a little bit of WorldTour racing but I think the immediate build-up to the Tour was a pretty standard one. The two months before the Tour is what matters," he said.

"Tour de Suisse is one of the hardest races of the year and that's always been used as preparation. The Giro looked even more ridiculous than the Tour, so there's really no point in going to the Giro for two sprint stages when we could have gone to California, where we won four."

Renshaw suffered from a serious migraine at the Tour, which saw him abandon during Stage 18. He travelled to Paris to see team-mates on the final day of the three-week spectacle, but has not trained or competed since climbing off the bike in Alps.

"It was all brought on by some ice pack on my neck. It's a pretty long story but in the end I just had muscle spasms in my neck and that gave me the migraine, which forced me out of the Tour," he said.

"It all started through the neck and then went to my back."

Renshaw was in Germany recently for a MRI scan and hopes to resume training shortly, in preparation for the remainder of the season that may again include supporting Cavendish at the Vattenfall Cyclassics and Tour of Britain.

"Once I hit it on the head, I don't think it will be reoccurring at all," he said if his ailment.

"Now I need to do a little bit of intensive physio on my core and that hopefully will improve the neck. It's all pretty tightly connected but probably the fatigue of the Tour caught up with me.

"This year (the Tour) was bloody hard. The stress of the first week and then the mountains in the last 10 days kind of added up to a really difficult Tour; the most difficult I have done, with the heat and those kinds of things."