Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere is growing frustrated as contract negotiations with Mark Cavendish drag on into the last days of November.
Lefevere is in 't Kuipke as Cavendish competes in the Six Days of Ghent alongside Deceuninck - Quick-Step team-mate Iljo Keisse - the pair currently in fourth place behind leaders Michael Mørkøv and Lasse Norman Hansen - and hopes to get a deal sorted while the pair are in the vicinity.
"Otherwise it will be postponed again," Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws of his desire to get a deal done this weekend. "I want to finish this on Saturday. I know he wants that too. Every time he hears [from] someone from the team, he asks what I said."
Discussing the obstacles that still sit in front of getting pen to paper, Lefevere suggests it's not only a question of financials but also Cavendish's stated desire to start his journey as a backroom member of staff with Deceuninck - Quick-Step after he retires from racing.
“Cavendish thinks that his image has value, but I have to think about the image of my team. Where will it go if I start with this? Then next week 'the next sexy thing' will be at my door," Lefevere said.
“When I ask what is, he says that he wants to walk with me and learn. But do I have to pay someone to learn?”
Cavendish was on minimum salary during the 2021 season, earning around €40,000 and needing to bring his own sponsor on board to the team in order for Lefevere to grant him a lifeline and ensure Cavendish still had a place in the WorldTour after another difficult year with Rod Ellingworth's Bahrain-McLaren.
For Lefevere, it turned into a savvy piece of business as Cavendish re-found his form and took his first victories in three years before squeezing himself into the Tour de France line-up and taking four stages to equal Eddy Merckx's record.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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