Mark Cavendish’s agent, Simon Bayliff, met with Etixx-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere in Paris on Sunday as the Tour de France concluded but contract negotiations between the rider and his current team are still on-going.
Although discussions are at an early stage, Lefevere is keen to keep the negotiations moving forward as he seeks to build a team for 2016. The Belgian squad have a number of riders still out of contract, including Rigoberto Urán, Tom Boonen and Cavendish. Lefevere has already confirmed that current world champion Michal Kwiatkowski will depart at the end of the season. The Pole is expected to sign for Team Sky.
"I met with Mark’s agent on Sunday and we had a good conversation,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.
“He’ll go back to Mark with it and then we’ll see what happens. I explained my view and Simon explained theirs. This week nothing will happen because Mark rides in London and I’m away for a few days but don’t forget that three years ago when Mark signed for us we didn’t sign anything until September. I think the press is more nervous about the situation than I am.”
Cavendish’s future at Etixx comes down to a number of factors, not just salary, but also race programme and the shared ambitions between the rider and team management. Lefevere has invested heavily in building a leadout around Cavendish and the rider has repaid him with a string of victories, and he has won three Tour de France stage since joining the team.
“[Negotiations] depend about the conditions," Lefevere continued. It’s about the whole picture, his ambitions, ours, how long we work together. We’re not talking about a rider who will ride for 50,000 Euro, we’re talking about a big star, so negotiations aren’t completed in fifteen minutes.”
Cavendish has also been linked to MTN-Qhubeka, BMC and Trek Factory Racing in recent months.