Deceuninck-Quick Step are delighted to have re-signed Mark Cavendish, but the Belgian team do not expect him to come in and win six stages at the Tour de France.
Cavendish, who has won 30 stages on the Tour, left the then Etixx-Quick Step team after the 2015 season to join Dimension Data before spending a season at Bahrain-McLaren.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels says they are fully aware the 35-year-old is "no longer the Cavendish of the past".
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“The return of Mark Cavendish is a challenge,” Steels told Belgian broadcaster Sporza.
“In the years that he was with us, we have been able to work very well together and also won a lot. Mark is a rider that you enjoy. I am really looking forward to working with him again, even if of course it is no longer the Cavendish of the past.
"Mark has had a few bad years. On a sporting level, we will have to rebuild step by step. I think we should first of all make sure that he can enjoy racing again.
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"We want to give him the feeling that he is physically back to normal. If he feels good on the bike, we can watch the sprints again. I have no doubt that he still has the capacity to win races. But fun on the road is the number one priority.
"Cavendish remains Cavendish: that competitive character is still there and he will also find it with us. He can help with the ambitions of the team. The fact there is a fight in every race will please him.
We don’t expect Mark to win six stages in the Tour. There are a lot of other races to get up to speed and then we have an extra sprinter, which gives us more opportunities. He also brings a lot of experience. His specific view of sprinting can help guys like [Sam] Bennett or [Alvaro] Hodeg. When [Fabio] Jakobsen comes back, he’ll enjoy it too.
As well as 30 Tour stage wins, 2011 world champion Cavendish has won 15 stages on the Giro d'Italia and three on the Vuelta.
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