By Sophie Smith
Bernhard Eisel has successfully negotiated a contract extension with team Sky that will see him part ways with long time team-mate and confidant Mark Cavendish from next season.
Eisel moved with Cavendish to the British-based squad this year following the collapse of HTC-Highroad and has extended until the end of 2015 Sky confirmed in a statement today.
The announcement follows confirmation yesterday that Cavendish will transfer to Omega Pharma-Quick-Step, after serving just a season of a three-year deal with Sky, in pursuit of leadership at the Tour de France.
Cycling Weekly understands Eisel informally agreed to stay at Sky at the Tour of Britain last month where Cavendish entered discussions with team principal David Brailsford about his future at the squad.
"The fact that Mark Cavendish is leaving us made this one of the toughest decisions of my life, and I wouldn't have stayed if I hadn't felt absolutely at home here," Eisel said.
"Mark and I have ridden together since 2007 and he was my only room-mate during most of that time. I haven't just looked after him on the bike, I also regard him as a brother so it will be strange competing against him in the future."
Eisel, alongside Australian Michael Rogers, was an integral road captain at the Tour this year where his team-mates Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome finished first and second, respectively. The former Ghent-Wevelgem champion is set to again embrace that role next season as well as chase his own opportunities throughout the Spring Classics.
Sky's success in France this July strengthened its objective to achieve overall success at Grand Tours, which in part contributed to sprinter Cavendish's departure. Given that direction Eisel's decision to extend will not hurt the Manxman, which was a consideration for the 31 year old when he was looking at his options last season.
Eisel has worked under the tutelage of Sky race coach Bobby Julich in 2012 and enjoyed the structure the team provides its riders.
"I'm delighted to have extended my contract. Although I haven't had a win this season, I've had a really enjoyable first year with the team and have been able to contribute to some historic performances," Eisel said.
"I've loved taking on a senior role in the squad. Having the chance to advise the younger guys is something I've really enjoyed doing, and want to continue doing that.
"In terms of 2013, I'm sure I'll have more chances to get my first victory for the team, and at the same time I'll continue doing what I am best at, which is helping other people win.
"We've accomplished so much here already at team Sky but I'm sure there will be plenty more success in the future and I'm excited by that prospect."
Brailsford keen to keep Eisel at Sky
Cavendish leaves Sky for Omega Pharma-Quick-Step
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