While Mark Cavendish has expressed an interest in continuing his career into 2021, the big question now is where – if anywhere – he might end up. His current Bahrain McLaren team could be a possibility, while former teammate Bradley Wiggins has suggested that Ineos Grenadiers – formerly Team Sky, for whom Cavendish rode in 2012 – should sign him, while another of his former teams, Deceuninck-QuickStep, also appears to be a possibility.
Here at Cyclingnews, we considered the 35-year-old's possible destinations in our latest podcast, but Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere has suggested that his team is top, or at least close to the top, of Cavendish's wish list in his column for Het Nieuwsblad on Friday.
"It's no secret that he would like to return to our squad – free, or free in a manner of speaking," Lefevere wrote, implying that perhaps Cavendish had offered his services for free while potentially still benefitting from personal sponsors.
Rejoining Lefevere's team would reunite Cavendish with sports director and close friend Brian Holm, with the two having first worked together at T-Mobile and HTC-Columbia, before parting ways when Cavendish moved to Team Sky for the 2012 season, before reuniting once more at what was then Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 2013.
Cavendish remained with the Belgian WorldTour team until the end of 2015, taking 44 of his career 146 victories during his time under Lefevere, including three Tour de France stages, five stages at the Giro d'Italia, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and the British road race title.
He moved on to join Dimension Data in 2016, and subsequently Bahrain McLaren at the start of this season.
"I've been thinking about it: what could he bring to the team? What would he be able to offer the younger riders?" wrote Lefevere. "Right now, my heart says yes, but my mind says no. In any case, I won't make a decision until I have spoken to Mark personally. What he brings to cycling – and could bring to our team, in particular – is great. Respect is the least he deserves."
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