Lefevere tight-lipped on Cavendish contract negotiations

Etixx-QuickStep team manager looks back on successful Tour de France

With the Tour de France over and done with, it’s time to get down to business for Mark Cavendish and his agent Simon Bayliff. They are due to sit down with Etixx-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere to decide his future at the team. Cavendish’s contract is up at the end of the season but he is yet to pen a new deal with the Belgian squad, where he has been since 2013.

MTN-Qhubeka and Trek Factory Racing have expressed interest in the Manx Missile, but Lefevere remained tight-lipped about Cavendish’s future with the team. “I will tell him first and then you,” he told Cyclingnews outside the team bus by the Place de la Concorde following the final stage of the Tour de France.

In June he told Cyclingnews, “The Tour de France gives more than 60 per cent of a rider’s publicity and value. So if he can win at the Tour then it’s a totally different discussion.”

A victory on the Champs Élysées on the Tour’s final, and most prestigious sprint stage, would have helped Cavendish in his contract negotiations. It was his former teammate André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) that took the honours though as Cavendish took sixth after struggling with illness for the past week. Third in the all-time standings for Tour de France stage wins, Cavendish could only add one to his impressive haul – his lowest number of wins since his debut Tour de France in 2007.

“How many riders have won a stage?” said Lefevere. “A sprint is depending on so many details but I don’t have to look for excuses. I think Greipel was the strongest here, and Mark won a stage and did his best. I can’t complain.

“This Greipel we haven’t seen in many years and this is maybe the first time he’s been so strong in the Tour so if there’s pace he’s the strongest. This is the Tour de France, and next year there will be another Tour de France.”

For the team as a whole, the Tour de France has been good to them with three stages wins and two days in yellow with Tony Martin.

“I think we did a fantastic first week,” Lefevere said. “We won with Tony and he got the yellow, we won with Stybar on the same day that Tony crashed. In the second week I think that we were one of the most aggressive teams. Every day we had guys in the breakaway but we couldn’t win. We were really close with (Rigoberto) Urán in Mende but he was dropped and, in the last week, there was only one word ‘suffering’.”



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