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Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere has said there is no chance Mark Cavendish will ride the 2021 Tour de France as Sam Bennett has now been confirmed fit and recovered from his knee injury.
The Belgian also ruled out the possibility of taking both sprinters, as Cavendish has proved resurgent since joining the team at the start of the year, saying that the presence of the 30-time stage winner would cause too much distraction for last year's green jersey winner.
"Sam isn’t the strongest in his own head. If everything goes well then he becomes stronger and stronger, as we saw in the Tour last year, but if he has doubts and we bring someone like the second sprinter, and he has Mark Cavendish on his wheel, he becomes nervous about this. Very nervous," Lefevere told Cyclingnews.
"We want to be counting on Sam 200 per cent, honest and fair, even though he leaves the team. There are some teams that if you don’t re-sign they won't bring you to the Tour but I never get involved in that sort of case."
Cavendish had been brought in as a last-minute replacement for Bennett at the Belgium Tour, where he won the final stage, his biggest win since returning to Deceuninck - Quick-Step.
Then, news emerged that Cavendish was in Italy preparing as if he was going to the Tour, as doubt continued to swirl over Bennett's condition.
However, with Bennett fit Lefevere says he didn't think twice about selecting the Irishman, even though the sprinter is set to leave at the end of the season. As one of the top sprinters in the peloton, Bennett will provide the best opportunity for victory on the numerous flat stages of this year's Tour, going up against his friend and rival Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), as well as potentially mounting a green jersey defence.
The full Deceuninck - Quick-Step squad for the Tour is set to be announced in the coming days, with Julian Alaphilippe accompanied by a strong supporting cast.
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