Ryan Mullen extends Bora-hansgrohe deal for two more seasons

Mark Cavendish’s hunt for all-time Tour de France record sees him delay retirement for another year

One of Sam Bennett’s strongest lead-out men, Ireland’s Ryan Mullen, has confirmed he will remain with the Bora-hansgrohe team for two more seasons. Bennett is set to leave the team and while there is no confirmation as yet as to where he will go next, it is clear that his partnership with Mullen has come to an end.

“Very pleased to be staying with @BORAhansgrohe for another 2 years,” Mullen, the Irish time trial champion, stated on social media on Wednesday.

“I’m super grateful for the opportunity and the faith shown. It’s been a great 2 years already and I’m more than looking forward to repping this team for the next seasons.”

Mullen moved to the team prior to the 2022 season after Bennett indicated to team bosses that he would make a strong addition to the team. The duo worked closely together, with Mullen being particularly valuable in keeping the pace high in advance of the final sprint, either to keep the peloton together or in chasing down breakaways.


He helped Bennett take many wins and strong placings, including two stage victories in last year’s Vuelta a España.

Relations between Bennett and the team were affected by his non-selection for this year’s Tour de France and Vuelta a España, with the Carrick on Suir rider frustrated at what he saw as a lack of trust.

With the Dutchman Danny van Poppel also staying put, Bennett will have to build a new lead-out train with whatever squad he races with next. He was linked to the French team Ag2r Citröen several weeks ago but no announcement has been made as yet.

Meanwhile, British sprinter Mark Cavendish has confirmed he will delay retirement for one more season. He currently shares the all-time Tour de France record of 34 stage wins with the legendary Belgian Eddy Merckx, and had committed to one more campaign in 2023 to try to secure the outright record in this year’s race.

The Manxman looked on the way to victory on stage seven but had problems with his gears and finished second. He crashed out of the race the following day, suffering a fractured collarbone.

While he had stated repeatedly that this year would be his last in the peloton, the 38-year-old has had second thoughts.

“This year I announced my retirement, and I was looking forward to not having to get up and train every day and not to be away from home for such a long time, instead spending time with my family,” he said in a team statement on Wednesday. “I love cycling, I love racing, however, I was happy with that decision. But obviously crashing out of the Tour de France was not a finish of my career I hoped for.”

Cavendish was competing with the Astana Qazaqstan team and referred to the feelings there as “like a real family”. He said that when team manager Alexandr Vinokurov asked him after his crash if he would consider one more year, he initially said no.

“I was not ready to change my decision, I was in peace with it ... Then, I discussed it with my family, my kids and I got their answer: ‘you should carry on, well, just one more year ...’ So, now I believe I am ready for another year as a professional rider.”

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling