Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere has dismissed reports that he would be willing to trade Andy Fenn or Michal Kwiatkowski to Sky as part of a deal that would bring Mark Cavendish to his team in 2013.
Although just one season into a three-year contract with Sky, Cavendish admitted before the Tour of Britain that he was considering the possibility of leaving for pastures new next season. Lefevere and Omega Pharma-QuickStep have made little secret of their desire to add Cavendish to their roster, but the Belgian ruled out the possibility of either buying the him out of his contract directly or of sending a rider to Sky in part exchange.
"That's the most stupid rumour," Lefevere told Cyclingnews at the Tour of Beijing. "First it was Kwiatkowski, then it was Fenn. If I am not mistaken, in Europe it is forbidden to traffic people - and that's trafficking people. I will never, never agree to this. If you agree to this, you're starting something.
"Think about something for a minute. If I tell Kwiatkowski that he has to go to Sky and the deal with Mark doesn't go ahead, then Mark stays with Sky and I have a rider on my team who knows that I wanted to sell him to Sky. No, that's a wrong world. Very wrong. It's worse than prostitution."
While Tom Boonen has already said that he would welcome Cavendish's arrival at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Lefevere insisted that he would not speak to Cavendish until given the all-clear from Sky to do so.
"The day that Mark's agent gives me the letter to say that he is free from Sky, then I am ready to speak. But I will not do that until the day I see this paper because otherwise I would violate the rules of the UCI and they are very clear," he said.
"I read that [Sky manager] Dave Brailsford was saying Mark is free, but [the gap] between saying and doing is another world of course."
Lefevere claimed that he has not spoken to Brailsford since before the Tour de France - "and that was about their ambitions for the Tour and the Olympics, not about riders" - and said that he would not buy Cavendish out of his contract.
"I will never pay. I can make an agreement with Mark and his agents and he can pay Sky if they have to be paid," Lefevere said. "I am ready to make an agreement with him and probably he will not come to us for less money."