With the glaring omission of Mark Cavendish from the 2019 Tour de France startlist, it should come as no surprise that his Dimension Data teammate Mark Renshaw has announced retirement following the conclusion of the 2019 season.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” tweeted the 36-year-old Bathurst native on following his team’s official announcement on Twitter Thursday. “A massive thank you to all my family, friends, teammates and fans for the last 22 years of cycling at the highest level!”
After piloting the ‘world’s fastest man on two wheels’ on 10 Tour appearances dating back to the duo’s Tour debut together in 2009 with HTC-Columbia, neither will compete in this year’s edition marking an end of an era for only Dimension Data but also the sport itself.
Despite only a dozen victories adorning his palmarés, the former Australian track champion and world record holder is most recognised after spending the bulk of his career blazing a path for Cavendish and a majority of his 30 Tour victories and green points jersey.
However, for Renshaw, who raced with the ‘Manx Missile’ at HTC-Columbia (2009-2011), Omega Pharma-QuickStep (2014-2015) and most recently Dimension Data (2016-2019), with a brief stint apart while racing at Rabobank-turned-Belkin—turned-Blanco (2012-2013), his early career solo success still ranks near the top of his most memorable achievements.
“Some of my best memories were my first victory in the French Cup race, Tro-Bro Leon. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders at that moment in my career, while winning a stage and the general classification in the Tour of Qatar are memories that make me smile thinking back over my career,” recalled Renshaw, himself a two-time Tour Down Under stage winner.
“Other great memories were the moments I was riding for teammates and their success, finishing second on the Champs-Élysées to my team mate Mark Cavendish in the 2009 Tour de France was unforgettable.”
An outpouring of tributes have continually flowed on social media since the announcement, including both former and current teammates alike.
“Fine words that mirror your career Mark. Respectful, inspiring and in your own style. We can look forward to years reflecting on a wonderful career and look forward to many more following your chosen next,” tweeted retired Australian cyclist Bradley McGee, who like Renshaw began his career in the velodrome.
Cavendish also took to Twitter to memorialise his time spent with Renshaw and the enormous impact the Australian has had on the 34-year-old Brit’s monumental career.
“Today I’ve been taking a trip down memory lane,” shared the 2011 world road race champion in a series of tweets. “10 years ago I started to follow the wheel of a smooth-as-silk Australian in the sprints and it wasn’t long before we were pretty much unstoppable.
“Today my long-time friend, teammate, lead-out man, pilot fish, roommate, and much more. Mark Renshaw announced his retirement from professional cycling. A social media post would not do justice to the tribute you deserve from me mate, I shall wait until you’ve officially taken your last pedal revolution to do a proper tribute.
“I sincerely hope we race together again before this day. Thank you for everything.”