The British sprinter has been all but officially confirmed as joining the team for the upcoming season, though no announcement has yet been made about his future. Links have persisted since team boss Alexandre Vinokourov told Cyclingnews that he was interested in signing Cavendish.
The latest news in the saga came on Friday with a photo taken by a fan at Alicante airport showing Cavendish loading luggage into an Astana team car.
Taken late on Friday night, the photo is the latest confirmation that the Manxman would be racing for Astana this year, though the cycling world is still waiting for the team to announce his signature.
Cavendish had been all set to move to the French B&B Hotels-KTM squad after leaving QuickStep, though the team’s sponsorship troubles eventually led to its collapse, meaning the 37-year-old was among the dozens of riders and still left scrambling for new employment.
In mid-December, Vinokorouv told Cyclingnews that he phoned Cavendish when he heard the B&B team was in trouble, with La Gazzetta dello Sport reporting days later that a contract had been agreed.
There has been no official news since then, though both Cavendish and out-of-contract DSM sprinter Cees Bol have been spotted in Altea, Spain at the same time Astana were holding a training camp in the area.
Social media images showed Cavendish riding a team-issue Willier bike, and he was spotted at Astana’s hotel, while Bol – who was also set to move to B&B Hotels – logged Strava training rides on the same route as Astana riders.
Cavendish wasn’t present at Astana’s team presentation and team photo at the turn of the year, though the photo was likely taken in 2022 before Cavendish became available.
Astana’s announcement of Cavendish’s signing now looks to be days away, however, with the rider looking set to link up with the team once again at their new-year training camp.
In recent days, Cavendish has been in the courtroom back in England, giving evidence along with his wife Peta at the trial of several men accused of a violent robbery at his Essex home in November 2021. The trial is set to conclude ni the coming week.