Mark Cavendish's long-term manager joins him at Team Dimension Data

Rolf Aldag leaves Etixx-QuickStep to join British sprinter Mark Cavendish at MTN/Team Dimension Data

Rolf Aldag. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

German Rolf Aldag will join Mark Cavendish at team MTN/Dimension Data after leaving Etixx-QuickStep. The Belgian WorldTour team said in a press release this morning that it has parted ways with its sport and development manager.

Etixx did not explain why in the release, but wished Aldag "good luck for his future." South African team, MTN released a statement 90 minutes later saying that Aldag starts immediately as its performance manager.

With Aldag and other staff working behind the scenes in Patrick Lefevere's team, Etixx pulled in 54 victories on the road this year. No other team won more.

>>> Mark Cavendish joins Team Dimension Data for 2016 season

"I am really excited to have one of the most experienced individuals in cycling join our team," MTN team principal, Douglas Ryder said.

"Rolf has helped teams in the past excel on a performance level and a technical level and we look forward to the contribution he can make in our team as we embark on the next phase of our journey."

Aldag has a long history with 30-year-old Cavendish. He joined Lefevere's Etixx team at the end of 2012 after it signed Cavendish from Team Sky. Before that, the two worked together in teams T-Mobile and HTC-Highroad from 2007 through the 2011 season.

Mark Cavendish and Rolf Aldag at the 2007 Tour de France

Mark Cavendish and Rolf Aldag (right) at the 2007 Tour de France
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

He could also help beef up the team that has a chance to join the WorldTour. If the team makes the jump from the Professional Continental ranks to become a WorldTeam, it would need more staff.

The UCI said that it is expected to announce the WorldTour teams in mid-December. It already has 17, but could add an 18th with Team Dimension Data.

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The team, including Cavendish, would be more relaxed knowing they had guaranteed invitations to races on the WorldTour calendar like the Tour de France.

"A WorldTour licence gives everyone more opportunities, a Giro, a Tour, a Vuelta," Ryder told Cycling Weekly last month.

"What people forget is that a Pro Continental team has to beg for invitations, you can never plan. It's like you are walking a tightrope."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.