At first, it seemed like an impossible situation without a positive outcome. Mark Cavendish is rumored to be going to Team Sky but they ride Pinarellos while the World Road Race champion insists on sticking with Specialized.
The impasse led to additional conjecture that Cavendish would instead ride for Omega Pharma Quick-Step with Specialized coming on board to replace Eddy Merckx as team bike sponsor.
However, a last minute compromise between the two bike manufacturers has cleared the final hurdle to Cavendish joining Sky. Next season, the Manx Man will ride a Specarello, a design collaboration between Specialized and Pinarello.
“It’s a compromise and maybe that’s not ideal. But if Cav can’t ride a full-on Specialized bike, at least he can ride half of one,” said Specialized’s Mark Bagot. Designers from both companies are already putting the final touches on the Specarello, with engineers from Pinarello flying into Morgan Hills, California, the headquarters of Specialized.
“It wasn’t an easy deal to cut but we both realized the high stakes. We’re basically taking the top and down tube off the Dogma,” said Michael Ceccaricci, a spokesman for Pinarello. “Specialized gets the seat tube and seat stays. We’re still hammering out a compromise on the chain stays but that’s not a big sticking point.”
Team Sky manager David Brailsford hailed the efforts of both Pinarello and Specialized to find a workable solution. “This is top-notch stuff. Guys like Bradley, Geraint and Cavendish deserve the best. Now, they’re getting twice that,” said Brailsford. “We’re excited and very proud of the efforts of everyone involved.”
Reached for comment, Cavendish himself seemed surprised by the new development. “This sounds like a bit of a Frankenstein thing. What are they calling it? A Specarello? That’s f’ed up,” said the World Champion.