A persistant rumour indicates that World Champion Mark Cavendish may be riding for Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2012. The Briton has long been expected to join Team Sky, but no announcement has been made yet. The hold-up is said to be the bike that he wants to ride.
In September, it appeared certain that Cavendish would join Sky, ”but recently we have not been so sure that he will ride with us next year,” a Sky employee told the Gazet van Antwerpen during the Tour de Wallonie Picarde. "Apparently there are a few things that have changed since Cavendish became world champion in Copenhagen."
The major issue is said to be the bike. According to the GVA, Cavendish insists on riding a Specialized frame, as he currently does at HTC-Highroad, and the company wants to keep him on their bike. However, Sky has a contract with Pinarello, which it is not willing or able to cancel for his sake.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step will no longer ride Eddy Merckx bikes next year and it is said that it will ride Specialized, at the demand of time trial World Champion Tony Martin.
Lefevere denied to the newspaper that Cavendish would be joining his squad. "If Cavendish is on my cycling team next year? I wish. But I have thirty riders under contract."
The team did not respond to Cyclingnews' request for a comment on the story.
If Cavendish were to join the Belgian team, he would be the third World Champion on the roster along with Martin and cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar. He would also meet up with current and former Highroad teammates Martin, Matt Brammeier, Gerald Ciolek, Bert Grabsch, Frantisek Rabon, and Martin and Peter Velits.