Brailsford admits Cavendish negotiations are ‘complicated’, Lefevere denies Quick Step bid
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Brailsford admits Cavendish negotiations are ‘complicated’, Lefevere denies Quick Step bid

by Shane Stokes at 5:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Oral agreement made with Sky Procycling but no written contract in place

Dave BrailsfordSpeaking minutes after Mark Cavendish sped to victory on the Champs Elysées, netting his fifth stage win of the Tour de France and sealing his first green jersey, Dave Brailsford was asked about the likely new signings for the 2012 season.

Confirming that there would be significant new contracts, he smiled knowingly. “All will be revealed in due course,” he told VeloNation, clearly pleased with what he knew then.

Two and a half months on, the expected top acquisition for Sky Procycling is proving a more difficult catch to land. Yesterday saw the surprising claims that the British world champion was not certain for the team, and could go to Quick Step; the latter played down the talks, but it was clear that things were not straightforward and the hitherto-presumed signing was not a done deal.

According to De Telegraaf, an oral agreement was made at the Tour de France, but no written contract was signed.

Brailsford has conceded that much is left to do. “It is quite complicated,” he said, according to the paper. He also explained why getting him on board is such a priority. “In view of the London Olympics, we will do everything for Cavendish to win. It would be quite sour of he was in London as Olympic champion in the colours of a foreign team.”

According to yesterday’s story in the Gazet van Antwerpen, one big difference is that Cavendish wants to remain on a Specialized bicycle. Sky Procycling uses Pinarello machines, and has a year left in its current agreement.

There were also suggestions yesterday that the issue of image rights are a major difference between the two sides, with Cavendish wanting full rights in this area and Sky wanting an all-encompassing deal.

As world champion, Cavendish will have much greater endorsement opportunities than most riders.

However the Gazet van Antwerpen’s assertion that Quick Step is chasing Cavendish’s signature has been disputed by the team’s general manager Patrick Lefevere.

"I do not participate in paranoid games in the media,” said Lefevere to Het Nieuwsblad. “There is all this talk, but I have not exchanged three worlds with Cavendish this season. I have negotiated with his friend and team-mate Bernhard Eisel. But he was quite clear to me and said, ‘sorry, but Mark must go to Sky for many reasons and I will go along too. We have now been signed.’ So, to my knowledge, Cavendish is not free.”

Quite where that leaves the rider and the British team remains to be seen. In August the rider said that he knew where he would be racing in 2012 but would delay announcing it for several weeks. Now, if the information coming from multiple sources is correct, it would seem that pronouncement was premature and an announcement of his future team could be some time off.

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