Speculation links world champ Mark Cavendish with Omega Pharma - Quick Step
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Monday, October 03, 2011

Speculation links world champ Mark Cavendish with Omega Pharma - Quick Step

by VeloNation Press at 5:17 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Suggestions Specialised allegiance could block Sky move, but Leferevre says team is full

Mark Cavendish As the silence continues about where Mark Cavendish will compete next season, the Gazet van Antwerpen is reporting that the world champion is not now likely to race with Team Sky, but could go to Quick Step.

According to the Belgian newspaper, things may have cooled between the British team and the rider they have been chasing for well over a year. It quotes an unnamed Sky employee as revealing things are far less certain than they seemed before.

“We are recently not so sure that he will race next year with us,” the employee is said to have stated. “Apparently a few things have changed since the time Cavendish became world champion in Copenhagen.”

Cavendish originally stated in August that he had finalised terms with a team and that an announcement was pending. It was thought that it would be made after September 1st, as HTC Highroad boss Bob Stapleton had imposed that deadline on his riders for revealing their 2012 teams.

That date came and went, and so too the Tour of Britain, where a very big media presence and huge crowd attendance had provided the perfect platform to announced the news. Ditto for the aftermath of the world road race championships.

According to the Gazet van Antwerpen, one difficulty is that the rider wants to remain on a Specialized bike. Sky Procycling has a long-running deal with Pinarello, and other big riders such as Bradley Wiggins are likely to be happy with their current setups.

The Belgian newspaper puts two and two together, noting that the move by Cavendish’s current team-mate Tony Martin to Quick Step – which will be titled Omega Pharma Quick Step next season – has apparently convinced the team to switch to Specialized from its current use of Eddy Merckx bicycles.

Other riders from the HTC Highroad team are also heading there, namely the Velits brothers Peter and Martin, former world TT champion Bert Grabsch and Cavendish’s friend Matt Brammeier.

However Quick Step general manager Patrick Lefevere appears to pour some cold water on the theory. “Will Cavendish next year be in my cycling team? I wish,” he said. “But I have thirty riders under contract.”

It therefore remains to be seen if the move could indeed happen; if so, it would mean that one of those riders would have to agree to move to a different team.

What’s certain though is that the longer it takes for an announcement to be made, the more questions will be asked about whether the long-rumoured Sky deal has indeed run aground as its big target became world road race champion.

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