The Tour is over. Jakobsen officially won a single stage, and finished 5th in the green jersey points.
IMO, that’s a placing that Cav could have easily matched; not only that, the coverage of him beating the record would have been the lead story of the day, and one of the main stories of the Tour as a whole, which means that the sponsors of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl would be going home happy.
So, is it it time to talk about how leaving Cav out was a mistake?
Nope, we just have have no way of knowing.
Sure, if everything went to plan for Cav, then yes, he would have performed better than Jakobsen did.
But Patrick likely looked at the two riders and thought: okay, if everything went to plan for both riders, who should I pick?
We are just speculating.
To say he made the wrong decision, we would be assuming Cav didn’t have a bad day in the mountains, that he didn’t crash, that he didn’t catch Covid, didn’t get blocked/boxed in the sprints. Remember: Jakobsen had no Morkov, no Asgreen and a somewhat misfiring squad. Also, this Tour was raced at breakneck speed - there’s no guarantee that Cav would have fared any better.
Just as there’s no guarantee he would have won either of the two sprints that Jasper won in the last week. Cav may have come away winless. Who knows.
I don’t like Lefevere, and initially I wanted Cav at the Tour. I hope he gets to come back next year and break Eddy’s record. (I reckon ASO will ensure a few ‘easier’ stages in the first week next year, to appease sprinters. Would love to see Cav fire up, and use Patrick as extra motivation to break the record.)
But there’s no way of knowing if Patrick was wrong.
Cav has always said his numbers on paper always looked rubbish…yet time and time again he would win because of his race smarts, positioning and bike handling.
I think it was not a terrible decision as he managed a stage and did better than all the teams that came away with nothing. But having Cav in the team would have been simple risk management.
If I were Cav now, I’d be training like hell to make sure I put some big wins on the board for season end. Probably happening now as he got top 10 in the very tough IOM Granfondo a week or so ago.
Cavendish shoulda’ been there. period.
Wasn’t a great tour for sprinters, with very limited opportunities. Hard to imagine Cav would have done much better.
Idk there’s a point to be made for both athletes and I think the choice was made towards a young riders future. It’s unfortunate for Cav.
OTOH, let’s spill some conspiracy: Merckx was a Belgian & QST is Belgian wouldn’t you “protect” one of your national heroes or at least “not contribute to demotion”, “for the sake of a younger, proven talent”?
All in I believe in the particular situation QST chose a conservative approach with the fastest sprinter and less possible backlash in local media.
Imagine Belgian media if Cav would’ve come back empty handed
Last year Cav had Morkov for the whole Tour. He needs him as it was very clear during this Giro.
Second point: Last year he had much less competition compared to what he would have faced this year. Especially because Philipsen was still weaker (younger) than this year, Groenewegen is back on form, Jakobsen is generelly better than Cav and the ridiculous average speed every day + much less sprinter friendly stages. Overall good decision to keep Cav home as I think he wouldn’t have won a single stage.
Exactly this…no one was touching the green jersey except Wout and there were 3 bunch sprints total, maybe 4?
Whether Cav would have done any better is impossible to know…I think they should have brought him just for the PR, but that shipped has long since sailed.
Agree with this. However, let’s hope Cav get’s on a good team for next year (i.e., not Total Energie / B&B / e.g., **not ** a French Team).
The PR for whoever he goes to would be great, especially because I can see a more sprinter’s-team opening week, and Cav netting a win.
Just not sure where he races. Mid-tour the rumours were suggesting Alpecin, and a ‘straight-swap’ with Merlier. But Jasper would def be no.1 sprinter at team year.
Other rumour was to join Sagan (i hope not), or EF.
No way he joins Sagan…they hate each other.
Lefevere never wrong even when he is.
It has sailed. And I think it would have been a failure to deny Jakobsen his Tour debut which was successful with a stage win. If the would have brought Cav they might have come out of this without a sprint win as there would have been a lead out man missing.
The rumor that I’ve heard, from someone with some inside knowledge, is that Cav will be leaving quick step and go to a new French team. It will be formed from combining two existing French teams and Carrefour, the large French grocery chain will kick in about 20 million euros.
Well, there’s also the fact that he was regularly on the wheel of some of the greatest leadout riders in the history of the sport: Mark Renshaw and later Michael Morkov.
IMO, that is shortchanging Cav’s sprinting skills. No doubt he has had some of the best leadout trains / riders in his career, but he also regularly was able to freelance it, surf the wheels he needed to and still pop in for the win.
He is also aero AF when sprinting, somewhat similar to Ewan. Watts are only one part of the equation.
Absolutely wrong decision by Lefevere. Given Cavs form prior to the Tour, and his motivation. It should have been a no brainer. Quickstep would have received a lot more attention, and after all, isn’t that what sponsors want? And Cav could have had a shot at the record victory. Maybe there’s more of a connection between Lefevere and Merckx than is talked about. Quicksteps performance in this Tour was dismal, other than Fabio’s lone victory. For a team with such good riders, it was management of the team that assembled a team that played no part in this years Tour. The biggest news out of the Quickstep camp during this years Tour was what is happening to them next year, and I suspect that the reason it came out during the Tour was to capture some attention, that they otherwise could not find on the roads of this years Tour de France.
Certainly wasn’t my intention to disparage Cav but rather to lift up the often-underappreciated talents and smarts of great leadout riders.
I disagree. Yes, there’s no way of knowing how Cav would have done. But you don’t judge a strategy based on results when the results are not entirely within your control. You judge a strategy based on how likely it is to achieve your goals.
We obviously don’t know what QS’s goals for the Tour were, but we can reasonably guess that with no GC contender, their goal would most likely have been stage wins. With no Alaphillipe, their chances of a stage win from a non-sprint stage decreased.
Given these parameters, the best strategy, I think, would have been to maximize their chances of winning sprint stages. Two sprinters do so more than just one, especially when the one is a Tour rookie.
In sum, I think @Caley_Fretz’s story from before the tour on this was spot on. Quickstep and Lefevre made a mistake.
Jakobsen was on better form than Cav prior to the tour and there’s no way you can take two headline sprinters who probably wouldn’t work well for each other.
I would say that no Alaphilippe was the main reason that Quickstep underperformed this year at the TDF. Also perhaps they could have unleashed Evenepoel and gone for a more climber focused team given that this year’s parcour wasn’t bunch sprint friendly.