Patrick Lefevere to discuss new contract with Mark Cavendish after Tour de France

The British sprinter has won two sprint stages in the first week of the 2021 race

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty)

The manager of Deceuninck - Quick-Step Patrick Lefevere will open discussions on a new contract for Mark Cavendish after the Tour de France.

After an opening week in the race that has seen the 36-year-old win two sprint stages and hold a sizeable advantage in the points classification, securing a contract extension to keep Cavendish with the Belgian team will be a priority beyond the French Grand Tour. 

Cavendish, who re-joined the team last winter on a minimum contract, wasn't expected to ride the Tour until the late withdrawal of the team's de-facto number one sprinter Sam Bennett.

But the 2011 world champion has shown that he is still capable of winning stages at the biggest race of them all.

His double success means he now has 32 stage wins and he is just two adrift of Eddy Merckx's record of 34.

Writing in his weekly Het Nieuwsblad column, Lefevere said: "His contract will expire at the end of this season, but we have agreed to wait until after the Tour to talk about it.

"When we went to dinner after the Elfstedenronde race [in early June], Mark said he wanted to continue for another year, but in the meantime the world looks completely different.

"What if he would soon win in the dream scenario on the Champs-Élysées in the green jersey for his 35th Tour victory?

"Maybe he'll say there: Voilà, this is the end of the ride. I would advise against it, but I've seen too many that are way past their sell-by date.

"Mark has another chance to leave the sport on his terms, but the choice is obviously his."

Given the momentum and confidence that Cavendish now possesses, it seems unlikely that he would be keen to retire at the end of the 2021 season, pointedly saying earlier in the week that he is fuelled by the desire to race head-to-head against Caleb Ewan, an opportunity that he was deprived of in this race due to the Australian's race-ending crash on stage three.

Before his place in the Deceuninck - Quick-Step team was confirmed, there were reports that Cavendish was loathed to riding the Tour on his bare-bones contract, but Lefevere revealed that late adjustments to his salary were made.

He continued: "Last Monday, when the Tour was already underway, we agreed on a number of bonuses.

"A premium to ride the Tour, one for each week he completes and of course one for each stage win.

"If he continues like this, Mark won't have earned badly on his minimum contract by the end of the year.

"We never talked about the green jersey on Monday. At the time, it just seemed completely unrealistic that Mark would even complete in that classification."