Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere has said he’s mulling over whether to sign Mark Cavendish for 2021, saying it’s currently a battle between his heart and his head.
Cavendish, who rode for Lefevere for three seasons from 2013-2015 when the team was called Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, is out of contract with Bahrain-McLaren at the end of the year but says he’s not ready to retire just yet.
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While his former team-mate Bradley Wiggins implored Ineos boss Dave Brailsford to bring the sprinter back to another team he used to race for, it is Lefevere who has been considering whether to sign the 35-year-old for next season.
Lefevere says Cavendish’s situation is not unique, however, and that the CVs are piling up in his inbox.
“I unwittingly have my own barometer for the situation in cycling: the inbox of my email account. We are at level five there because it is unbelievable how many spontaneous applications I’ve received,” Lefevere wrote in a recent column for Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. “Mechanics, team leaders, caretakers, drivers: there are many who are currently looking for a team. People from NTT and CCC, but also from smaller continental crews. Everyone seems to think that I am some kind of Jesus Christ who can turn water into money.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I see my staff as the lifeblood of my team. I am particularly wary of upsetting the balance between staff and riders. Due to circumstances, there is currently more turnover than I would like. A mechanic who discovered family life during the lockdown and started his own bicycle business. Apparently, it is a side effect of the corona crisis that people are questioning their own lives. In the meantime, we also have someone who has been at home with burnout for two months. It means that I have to move around and fit new people in and that is very difficult. A cycling team is sixty people altogether. The extent to which they work together determines much of the success.”
It is this philosophy that is currently informing his decision of whether to bring Cavendish back to his squad.
“That is also the decision I have to make with Mark Cavendish. It is no secret that he would like to return to our squad. I think about it: what can he do in the sport for the team? Besides the bike, what does it mean to young riders? Right now my heart says yes, but my mind says no. In any case, I will not make a decision until I have spoken to Mark personally. His merit for cycling – and our team in particular – is great. Respect is the least he deserves.”
Cavendish is currently riding the Tour of Flanders, his first appearance at the Monument since 2011, which will be his last race of the season before he hopes to find somewhere to continue racing in 2021.