Mark Cavendish finally confirmed as joining Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2013
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mark Cavendish finally confirmed as joining Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 2013

by Ben Atkins at 10:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
2011 World champion to receive more support in Tour de France; reunited with Specialized bikes

mark cavendishAfter months of speculation it has been finally confirmed that Mark Cavendish will join Omega Pharma-Quick Step on a three-year contract from 2013, according to The 2011 World champion has ridden just one year of a three-year deal with Team Sky but, with the British team committed to defending Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France title next year, the Manx sprinter expressed a desire to leave and pursue his own ambitions in the race.

While Omega Pharma-Quick Step has yet to comment on the deal, Team Sky's website featured the announcement - although it now links to the Sky Sports story - and Cavendish himself has confirmed his transfer vis Twitter.

"After a while away from twitter, I'm pleased to return with the announcement I'll ride for @opqscyclingteam Omega Pharma-Quickstep next year," the former World champion wrote.

The Belgian team’s two established sprinters - Francesco Chicchi and Gerard Ciolek - are both leaving the team at the end of the year, and its main Tour de France general classification rider Levi Leipheimer was released yesterday following his confession of past doping. No longer having a focus for the Tour, Cavendish - the “fastest man on two wheels” - appears a perfect fit.

The 2012 Tour de France saw Cavendish take just three stages, instead of his usual five or six, as the team was almost entirely dedicated to Wiggins. With the promise of support in the Olympic Games road race the following week - as well as the honour of being part of a Tour-winning team - Cavendish was willing to put his personal ambitions to one side. The then World champion could sometimes be seen collecting bottles for his teammates, and even pulling the front of the peloton, which brought criticism from some traditionalists; he is not prepared to ride a second Tour with such little support however, and so sought to leave the British team.

Team Sky principle Dave Brailsford agreed that the best interests of British cycling would be served by Cavendish receiving maximum support in races like the Tour de France and, despite originally stating that a transfer fee would be required, agreed to release the Manx Missile from the second and third years of his contract.

As well as providing Cavendish with the team support that he needs in the Tour, his new contract sees the sprinter reunited with Specialized bicycles, which he rode in 2011 in his final year with HTC-Highroad. As one of the riders that debut’d the American company’s S-Works+McLaren Venge - developed in co-operation with the British Formula 1 team - Cavendish expressed disappointment that was leaving the brand on signing with Team Sky.

More on this story to follow...


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