After Mark Cavendish’s first stage win in Brignoles on Sunday the French newspapers were speculating as to whether the new British squad, Team Sky, might sign him for 2010.
Since Cavendish is contracted to Columbia-HTC until the end of 2010, with an option on 2011, that seems as unlikely as the figure reported to be the Team Sky budget. In one newspaper the sum was estimated at 33 million Euros – over what timescale, they didn’t say.
The budget for the new team, which has a four-year deal with Sky, has not been revealed – and according to Sky sources, it is not going to be made public. Estimates have ranged from six to 33 million Euros – the actual figure is likely to be closer to the first than the second. The deal between Sky and British Cycling covers grassroots cycling as well, though, again, the sum being invested by the satellite broadcaster is not being made public.
A contingent from British Cycling, including performance director Dave Brailsford, was in Monaco for the Tour’s Grand Départ. With Brailsford was the new Team Sky operations manager, Carsten Jeppesen, who spent eight years by Bjarne Riis’s side at CSC and signed with Sky in April.
Brailsford admitted that his visit was connected to the Team Sky set-up, though he was playing his cards close to his chest and wouldn’t reveal the nature of his business. He left the Tour on Sunday evening but is planning to return on a date still to be confirmed, when he promised to elaborate on the new team's plans for 2010 and beyond.