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Cavendish offered one-year QuickStep extension but negotiations dragging on

Picture by - 09/09/2021 - Cycling - AJ Bell Tour of Britain Stage 5 - Alderley Park to Warrington, England - Deceuninck Quick-Step rider Mark Cavendish greets the waiting fans
Mark Cavendish at the recent Tour of Britain (Image credit: SWpix)

Mark Cavendish has been offered a one-year contract extension at Deceuninck-QuickStep but both parties have yet to reach an agreement, according to reports in Belgium.

The Manxman was picked up by the Belgian WorldTour squad this year after three winless seasons and has revived his career in spectacular fashion. 

After winning four stages at the Tour de France to equal Eddy Merckx's record of 34, Cavendish voiced his desire to continue racing, and to do so at QuickStep, where he previously rode between 2013 and 2015. However, ahead of the Tour of Britain, Cavendish said the decision was not in his hands, but rather in those of team boss Patrick Lefevere. 

According to a report in Het Nieuwsblad on Tuesday, Lefevere put a new deal on the table during the Tour of Britain. However, the Belgian newspaper, in which Lefevere has a weekly column, also reports that the talks have been "difficult" and the two parties are "far apart" concerning financials.

Cavendish signed for Deceuninck-QuickStep at the start of this year on a fraction of the salary he would have enjoyed in previous years of his successful career, and he even made space for himself on the payroll by bringing along a sponsor to the team. 

Now, after such a successful season, his value has risen once more, and he is understood to feel he deserves a higher salary. According to Nieuwsblad, the new contract offer still features a low base salary but with high potential for bonus payments should he win certain races. Lefevere has been known to structure contracts in this way, notably when Philippe Gilbert joined in 2017 and proceeded to win the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. 

Nieuwsblad also reports that Lefevere and Cavendish have yet to see eye-to-eye on the British sprinter's role for next season. 

Sam Bennett, who was meant to lead at the Tour de France, is leaving the team, but Fabio Jakobsen has returned to form following his life-threatening crash and has a claim to the role of lead sprinter. 

Cavendish, on the other hand, is surely keen to be assured of a Tour de France start as he looks to reach the outright record for stage wins.