According to reports in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Mark Cavendish has signed for the MTN-Qhubeka team from next season where he will link up with former HTC-Highroad and Team Sky teammate Bernhard Eisel. Cavendish's move to the Pro-Continental squad has reportedly hinged on the 30-year-old bringing a sponsor across to him as MTN are pulling its sponsorship from the team at the end of the season.
Cavendish has long standing relationships with Specialized and Oakley although MTN-Qhubeka have a deal with Cervelo bicycles from this season. MTN-Qhubeka has been in discussions with Dimension Data as a title sponsor but there is yet to be an announcement from the South African company.
The deal has also been held up in part with Cavendish wanting to bring Eisel and lead out man Mark Renshaw with him. Cavendish and Eisel rode together between 2007 and 2011 with the Colombia-Highroad set up before one season with Team Sky before Cavendish moved on to Etixx-Quick Step. Renshaw spent two seasons with Belkin with the aim of pursuing his own sprinting ambitions before deciding to rejoin Cavendish last season.
Besides MTN-Qhubeka, Trek Factory Racing where said to be in discussions with Cavendish but MTN-Qhubeka has been the most prominently linked team to the 2011 World Champion.
Speaking exclusively to Cyclingnews earlier this month, Cavendish explained he did not know where he would be riding in 2016.
"I'll tell you the truth that I don't know right now. There's not much to talk about, there's not much there. Hopefully there's something there in the next few weeks," Cavendish said. "More than saying I know something and I can't tell, I really don't know. Hopefully I have a job next year."
With Thursday a non-racing day at the World Championships in Richmond, Cyclingnews spoke to Etixx-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere about Cavendish's three seasons with the team which you can listen to below.
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