Mark Cavendish's future, with Deceuninck - Quick-Step or otherwise, has not become much clearer since the end of the Tour de France, says the Belgian team's boss Patrick Lefevere.
Since having dinner with Cavendish after the Tour had concluded, a new deal was discussed but no agreement made, and Lefevere says there has not been any progress since.
“The question, of course, is what happens to Cavendish," Lefevere said in his weekly column for Het Nieuwsblad. "After the Tour we had dinner in the star restaurant Boury in Roeselare, but nobody has become 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."
Lefevere is seemingly steadfast in his opinion on how much he wants to pay Cavendish in a new deal, saying the winner of 34 Tour de France stages shouldn't overestimate his market value after a comeback that saw him take four stage wins at the most recent edition of the French Grand Tour.
“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."
Fabio Jakobsen has capped off his comeback from injury with a stage victory at the Vuelta a España and is signed to Deceuninck - Quick-Step until 2023, while Alvaro Hodeg will move to UAE Team Emirates next year, meaning there is space in the Belgian team's sprinting department, which could be filled up by a returning Elia Viviani.
“For the position of third sprinter, I am thinking concretely about Elia Viviani," Lefevere revealed.
"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."
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