When they’re gone, they’re gone.
Etixx-Quickstep’s team director Brian Holm certainly gave his former rider and old buddy Mark Cavendish a smack to the cheek this week.
Holm, who goes way back to the glory days of HTC-Columbia with Cavendish, was discussing how his new sprinter Marcel Kittel was adjusting at his new new team Etixx-Quickstep. In his view the German was fitting in faster that Boy Racer.
“Everybody loves Kittel, or Tom Boonen, or Tony Martin – that’s easy because they’re so [laid back]…but, with Cav, you have to take him because he starts to stress and sometimes you have the feeling you have to smash him before he shuts up,” Holm told Cycling Weekly.
Given their long history together and the fact that Cavendish came to Etixx-Quickstep largely because of Holm, those remarks were unexpected and you wonder what was behind them. Holm has no problem speaking his mind and perhaps context is everything — maybe those words were delivered with a smile, a laugh, a good natured shake of the head.
Still, there was plenty of critique in those few sentences. Hold presents Cavendish as high-maintenance, a walking-stress ball and a guy who simply can’t stop talking and obsessing. He followed that up by inferring that without the steady hand of Dimension Data’s Rolf Aldag, that things would go poorly for the squad with Cav on board.
“I think he can handle it. Dimension Data needed somebody like [Aldag] to survive.” Hey, good look over there with building that train fellas. We’ll be over here that nice Marcel Kittle and having a swell time.
Holm summed up his former star sprinter this way: “With Cav, you really have to know him good to love him. Sometimes you have to say, ‘Cav, shut the f*** up’…then he’ll come and say sorry.”
Something tells us we’ll be getting a spirited rebuttal from Cavendish any moment with perhaps some got-your-back quotes from Boy Racer lead-out man Mark Renshaw. Will Cav stoop to bringing up Holm’s acquittal on sexually assaulting an underage girl two years ago?
This also raises the personal stakes on the Etixx-Quickstep versus Dimension Data battle. We’ll look forward to those sprints and post-race quotes on both sides.