The future of Mark Cavendish at Team Sky is still in doubt after Omega Pharma-Quickstep general manager Patrick Lefevere told Cyclingnews that the rider and his current team may rip up his current contract.
Cavendish signed for Sky at the end of last year on multiple-season deal. However, at the tail-end of the Tour de France, the team's manager David Brailsford hinted that his ace sprinter could leave for a new team. The team's focus appears to revolve around Grand Tour success and throughout the Tour de France, Cavendish was often left to fend for himself in the bunch sprints. He still won three stages but the Tour may have cast doubts on whether Sky's goals match that of the sprinter's.
Quick Step made an offer for Cavendish last year and although a number of his HTC-Highroad teammates made the switch to Lefevere's team, Cavendish signed for Sky.
Cyclingnews understands that Cavendish's representatives will meet with Sky's management in the coming weeks to thrash out the rider's future.
"There are no developments as far as I know," Lefevere told Cyclingnews.
"There haven't been any negotiations either because first what I want to see is that there's an agreement from Brailsford that Mark can leave the team. After that we can negotiate but now it's difficult because even if a rider wants to leave a team you need three parties to agree.
"I saw some things in the papers about Brailsford talking about it being an option but I don't know it was official or not. Either way, I don't know. It's up to Brailsford and Cavendish. If they agree that he can go and there's a document, then we're okay."
Lefevere added that he has not made direct contact with the sprinter and is patiently waiting for a green light. However, he did disclose that he'd met with Cavendish's agent during the London Olympics. Asked if he was interested in signing Cavendish, Lefevere said:
"Of course but who is not. I've not talked to Cavendish but I saw his agent at London during the Olympics. It was just a talk and he told me that he needed to talk to Brailsford before we could do anything. I'll respect the rules, Sky and the UCI so if there's an agreement he can leave Sky, I'll be happy to speak to him."
"First of all let's see what happens and how things are solved between Team Sky and Mark. Secondly, I don't think we're the only people interested in Mark. In my eyes he's the best sprinter in the world. Of course we have a team though that can be very helpful for him. But until I see a document that says he's free I can't speak. I want it to be fair and I won't speak before my turn."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.