Thursday, 5 April 2012

Mark Renshaw: Was Leaving Sky A Mistake?

Mark Renshaw earned himself the reputation of the peloton's top wing man and lead-out king whilst riding for Mark Cavendish at HTC. Instead of following Cav to Sky - I understand he was offered a contract - Renshaw decided it was time to spread his own wings and find his own lead-out at Rabobank. After such strong performances leading Cavendish out, 2012 was meant to become the season where Renshaw finally battled against Cavendish for stage victories, we were expectant, excited at the prospect of this former brotherhood becoming rivals. So I was concerned to find Mark Renshaw leading Theo Bos out for the sprint at Scheldeprijs on Wednesday...
Its clear that something has gone awry here. Renshaw is yet to place in any top 3 this season, his form has been less than impressive and although he cites fitting in at a new team as a possible disadvantage, it should have been clear before signing just what was expected of him and what Renshaw expected in return. Renshaw is quick to hint that his chance will come, describing pre-race that Scheldeprijs was the first race that Rabo had a 'Dedicated Lead-Out Team'. The problem is that we were expecting to see Renshaw not as part of the 'Team' but as the final product of the teamwork. Theo Bos, clearly pleased to head up the team was slightly more open about the situation: "Having Mark there is unbelievable. He's got so much experience and is so cool. My task today was to stick on his wheel and I did it the best I can." Renshaw has obviously tried to sprint to victory in a couple of races this year without much help and without much luck - so to see that Renshaw was only part of the first 'dedicated lead-out team' is definitely a worry.
I would suggest that at 29 years old, Mark Renshaw may have left it a little late to start his own sprint career. The qualities needed as a lead-out man are not necessarily the same qualities required by a sprinter. Being good at one does not mean that you will excel at the other. I do feel for Mark Renshaw, he was clearly tiring of living in the shadow of Cavendish and his plans to move on and carve out his own path do not seem to be blossoming right now, but we are still in the early stages of a very long season so he still has time to find some form. If i was a pro rider, I'm unsure whether I would prefer to be remembered as one of the sports greatest lead-out men for one of the sports best ever sprinters or as that lead-out man who tried to go it alone and didn't quite make it. One does have to wonder whether Mark Renshaw is ruing missed opportunities with Sky...

1 comment:

  1. An interestin and insightful podt. Thanks