The experienced Belgian manager has built a large part of his team around Cavendish and expects results in return. The Manxman had a difficult 2014 season due to illness and his crash at the end of the opening stage of the Tour de France but Lefevere saw first hand that he is still hungry for success, and has started the 2015 season with impressive form and finishing speed.
“It's always a good day for a sprinter when they win and when Mark wins its good for him and for the team. For sprinters winning is as important as eating and drinking. They need to win. It doesn't matter where and when it is,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.
“Mark has a certain anger inside him that pushes him to win. I've never really seen it another sprinter. Perhaps in Cipollini a little, and perhaps once in Tom Steel's life. I like that Mark has that positive anger. If you don't have that drive and ambition, you don't have the desire to win, then its over for a sprinter.”
Lefevere and Cavendish's agent are expected to sit down after the spring Classics to discuss renewing Cavendish's contract with Etixx-Quick-Step. There are already reports of other teams showing interest in Cavendish but he seems to feel at home at the Belgian squad and loves the friendly but serious atmosphere in the team.
Lefevere always drives a hard bargain in contract negotiations and confirms he is no fan of rider agents. But he also seems keen to retain Cavendish's services, knowing that Cavendish will remain one of the stars of the peloton, despite the success of rival sprinter Marcel Kittel and plans by other teams to target sprint victories and build dedicate lead out trains.
“You often see that a rider in his final year of a contract performs better but I like to put my trust in people and I trust Mark,” Lefevere said.
“I know he always wants to perform. Last year he wasn't so skinny at the start of the season, got sick at Tirreno-Adriatico but still tried hard at Milan-San Remo and was fifth, which means he was good enough to win despite not being at his best. We all know what happened at the Tour and then he didn't ride the other Grand Tours. Some people suggested he had a bad season but he won 11 races. Some riders don't win 11 races in their whole life time....”
Lefevere has noted that Cavendish has shown genuine desire to stay with Etixx-Quick-Step.
“I'm sure he means it and it's nice to hear,” Lefevere said.
“There are also people who fake it. There who people who say 'lt's go for dinner' but then they never invite you. Mark is not like that. I think his heart is in the right place.”
Gaviriva working with Cavendish
Lefevere has revealed that he is interested in signing young Colombian riders Fernando Gaviria and Rodrigo Contreras. Gaviria beat Cavendish twice in the recent Tour de San Luis, while Contreras was the best young rider and finished fifth overall.
“People had talked to me about them and I've followed them for at least a year. Now they've done well they had lots of offers but I hope to meet them after the track world championship (in Paris) at the end of the month and have them do a test,” Levefere told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“They've obtained some important results so far in their careers but we've got to see if they stay at the same level and follow in the footsteps of riders like Kwiatkowski and Sagan.”
Lefevere made it clear there would be no problem having both Cavendish and Gaviria at Etixx-Quick-Step in 2016.
“There are 270 days of racing in a season, Mark can do 90 at the most... In the last few years we've looked for a good second sprinter but we didn't get the results we'd hoped for with Steegmans and Fenn.”
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