Aldag: Cavendish and the team are concentrating on Tour de France success

Contract talks a secondary focus for Etixx-Quick Step rider

With the Tour de France less than a month away Rolf Aldag has stressed that the race should take centre stage in his riders' minds and that contract talks between the management at Etixx QuickStep and Mark Cavendish, while important, will take care of themselves if the team can be successful.

"I think that right now there's no need to discuss Mark's future. Right now the only thing we need to discuss is the now because the Tour de France is just around the corner and that's the most important thing," Aldag told Cyclingnews.

"He missed the Tour last year but we all that he made his value as a rider from that race and winning 25 stages there, along with all the other great wins he had at the Giro, Vuelta and his win at Milan-San Remo.

"It will all come down to all his sporting success. The biggest event of the year is knocking at the door."

Cavendish heads into the Tour de France after an already successful season but the Tour de France has always been the barometer that has decided his year. A stage win in most rider's palmares would be a career highlight but ironically it would be seemed as a failure for the British rider to win that amount in a single season due to the expectations placed on him due to his previous success.

"What can you measure him against, what defines a good season for Mark Cavendish? He learnt the hard way, and was frustrated for good reasons when he had a year a Sky. He won stages in the Giro and three stages in the Tour and some people were claiming that he had a bad season. That says it all, that expectations go through the roof," Aldag said.

Last year Cavendish crashed out of the Tour de France on the opening stage in Yorkshire but Aldag, who has worked with Cavendish since their T-Mobile and Highroad days together, believes that Etixx and their star sprinter can succeed at the Tour before sorting out a long term future.

"We want to prove that he missed out last year at the Tour because he was injured and not because of anything else. He's had a really good season so far and to put that little extra on top he can win at the Tour. I don't think we should say it's only about winning a certain number of stages. He wants to be there, and be present. The team are backing him and that's the plan. The rest [in terms of contracts] is between Patrick [Lefevere] and Mark and what they figure out together. I hope this is the best team for him and if you look at his statements he seems to be all right with the team here."

"I'm not his spokesperson for his future so we'll focus on the race and we'll see for everything else." 

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