Mark Cavendish will ride for Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl in 2022 and join his teammates at a meeting in Calpe, Spain next week with team manager Patrick Lefevere confirming that a deal has finally been reached with the Manxman.
Cavendish was due to make a new one-year deal and sign a contract after the Ghent Six. However, he crashed heavily on the last day of the race and will need several weeks off to recover from fractured ribs and a punctured lung. Lefevere put Cavendish’s health before any deal but has now revealed that they have come to an agreement and Cavendish will travel to Spain for the official team photo which hallmarks his presence with the Belgian squad in 2022 .
“Mark wanted an extension of his fairy tale and I didn’t want to take that away from him,” Lefevere said Sporza and other Belgian media after the presentation of an agreement between his team and the Belgian city of Ypres to promote cycling holidays in the region.
“It’s a done deal. He will stay with us for another year. All that’s missing is the signature, but it will happen soon.
Cavendish has secured a place at Deceuninck-QuickStep for 2021 after several difficult years battling Epstein Barr syndrome and depression. He was so keen to come back to the Belgian team that he helped find a sponsor to cover his base salary. He then proved his worth by returning to victory in the Tour of Turkey and was strengthened when Sam Bennett was unable to participate in the Tour de France. His return to the Tour became a miraculous return to France, winning four sprint stages, the green points jersey and tying Eddy Merckx’s stage victory record.
Cavendish has since revealed he was tempted to announce his retirement if he won the final stage of the Tour on the Champs-Elysees. However, he only finished third and soon realized he wanted to race in 2022.
“I wanted Mark to win a fifth stage in Paris and say Ciao there, but aging athletes find it hard to say goodbye,” Lefevere said.
“After the Tour presentation in Paris in October, we sat down together again. I then asked him if he would like to run for another year. He said yes, even if he had won on the Champs-Élysées. What happens next? We don’t know yet, but I won’t commit for over a year. “
Cavendish and Lefevere have been in negotiations since the Tour de France but have struggled to come to an agreement after their success in 2021.
Lefevere said in September they had reached an agreement on salaries and bonuses, but remained stuck on Cavendish’s desire to move into a managerial position after his career.
“Mark Cavendish thinks his image is valuable, but I also think of my team’s image,” Lefevere said at the time. “When I ask him what he wants to do, he says he wants to watch me and learn. But do I have to pay someone to learn?”
Lefevere said the latter aspect has now been resolved, but did not say whether he will mentor or employ Cavendish after his racing career ends.
“Everyone knows the story now: when managers and lawyers come in, it gets more difficult,” Lefevere explained.
“It took a long time but it didn’t make me impatient, I knew it would happen. But at some point you hand it over and when the contract is up you let people get on with it.”
Cavendish will need several weeks without a bike to fully recover from his injuries at Ghent Six. However, he is due to travel to Spain for a series of team meetings and official 2022 photographs.
“Mark will be there but is not yet cleared to fly due to his injuries, so he is driving to Spain,” said Lefevere.
“The riders have an activity program from 8 am to 8 pm with obligations, exercises and tests. For the first few days they hardly go cycling but we want him to be there.
“Is our team photo complete with Mark?” In principle, yes, “concluded Lefevere.
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