Deceuninck-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere has suggested Mark Cavendish will not get the chance to ride the Tour de France next year if he stays with the team, and says the Manxman is trying to “cash in” on his success in 2021.
Cavendish is on a one-year deal with Deceuninck-QuickStep and it has been reported that there is no agreement yet over an extension.
The 36-year-old won four times at this year’s Tour de France to equal Eddy Merckx all-time record of 34 stage wins.
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But whether he gets the opportunity to break the record with Deceuninck-QuickStep in 2022 remains to be seen, with sprinter Fabio Jakobsen also in line for a spot after his recent comeback.
“Mark always said the same thing: 'Next year it's up to Fabio, he's the fastest in the world, he's young, he has to go to the Tour'. Until he has now won four stages himself and has equalled Merckx's record," Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws.
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"Now I feel that he wants to go to the Tour again next year. But I will not go to the Tour with two sprinters next year. Next year Fabio Jakobsen will be our man for the Tour. I understand him: imagine if he can win one more in the Tour, then Cavendish will go down in history. But should I take the risk of sacrificing someone who might be faster than Mark? For a record which is essentially of no use to us as a team. And then, if he breaks the record, he might ask me for a bonus too.
"I respect Mark Cavendish. We saved his skin. We gave him all the tools. He took the challenge and he did it. And now it begins. Now he thinks it is time to cash in again."
It has been reported that the one-year deal offered to Cavendish is based largely on bonus payments.
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Lefevere also suggested that the sprinter is looking for a longer-term contract.
“Will he do the same again? That seems unlikely to me," Lefevere said of Cavendish's Tour de France success. "And then the next discussion begins, how much he should earn next year. That's a very difficult one, even for me. I can hardly give someone who wins four stages in the Tour and the green jersey, four stages in the Tour of Turkey and a stage in the Tour of Belgium the same wage as this year. Mark Cavendish has sky-high expectations in that regard and I'm very realistic. That's a difficult marriage.
"He's now starting to talk to me about his image. He says: 'with my image I am worth so much'. I say: 'your image in London is different from your image in West Flanders, with all due respect'. None of my West-Flemish sponsors are going to make amends to pay Mark Cavendish a higher wage for his image."
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Cavendish offered one-year deal but no agreement yet - reports