Patrick Lefevere has attempted to play down Mark Cavendish's historic achievements at Le Tour de France amid their new contract negotiations.
The British sprinter, who equalled Eddy Merckx’s long-standing record of 34 stage victories at Le Tour, will lead Deceuninck-Quick-Step at the Tour of Britain, which will begin in Cornwall on September 5.
The Manx Missile was reportedly considering retirement had he broken Merckx's record, but instead he looks set to return for one more year to try to get to 35 Tour de France stage wins after winning four in this year's edition of the race.
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His Belgian team's boss, Lefevere, has said there has not been any progress on a new contract for Cavendish since Le Tour and was quick to remind the Brit of his apparent status.
"The question, of course, is what happens to Cavendish," Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad.
"After the Tour we had dinner in the star restaurant Boury in Roeselare, but nobody became much wiser there. We talked about business for a while: the sponsors suggested a campaign in which they wanted to play Mark image-wise, but he himself did not think that was in line with his remuneration at the moment.
"I then suggested to enjoy the food and put the conversations about contracts and numbers in the fridge for a while. The premise is simple though: we want Mark to stay with the team and I think he knows himself that the grass isn't greener anywhere.
Only he should not overestimate his market value in the euphoria of the Tour. If everyone acts normally, we'll figure it out.
"For the position of third sprinter, I am thinking concretely about Elia Viviani," Lefevere continued.
"At least as concrete as my budget for next year allows. He has had his best years with our team, but of course his prize is in line with his palmarès. Viviani or a younger and, therefore, cheaper sprinter: that's the decision I have to make. I'm not in a rush for now."
Speaking after the Roeselare Criterium, Cavendish said he had not yet had any genuine talks over a new deal with Lefevere.
"I just got back from Paris, so I haven't talked about my future within the team yet. I want to enjoy today," the 36-year-old said.
"After arriving in Paris, we had a small party. You can't plan or do anything big in these corona times, but everyone on the team was there, so we had a 'bubble party' in which we discussed our Tour de France again.
"I'm going to make some time for my family now. I missed my wife and children, and I also want to recover a bit after a tough Tour."
Speaking after the final stage of Le Tour, former champion and a close friend of Cavendish's, Sir Bradley Wiggins, said he thought the failure to break Merckx’s record would spur his former team-mate on.

Wiggins embraces former team-mate Cavendish after he equals Tour record

"It doesn’t always happen. It’s very difficult,” said Eurosport expert Wiggins on the final sprint in Paris. "You can’t underestimate just how hard it is, it’s a lot narrower than it used to be from the 1km banner.
"He [Cavendish] has done it 34 times, navigating his way through the chaos and carnage to get himself to the front. He’s a winner, Mark. And he tried, the team tried, but it just wasn’t to be and that’s the way it is sometimes in cycling."
When asked if he thought Cavendish would return to the Tour, Wiggins added: "I don’t know, I don’t know.
What a lovely way to end here it would have been. Knowing Mark, this will make him even more hungry for next year and he’ll want to come back.
"He’s found a new level of form that he thought he had lost. I think this will spur him on to go for another year and go for that record."
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