Cavendish facing fight with team to compete in Rio 2016

Etixx boss says that there will be conditions in place if Cavendish is to ride the 2016 Olympics on the track as well as stay with the Belgian team

Mark Cavendish rides the Madison with Bradley Wiggins at the Derby Revolution (Andy Jones)

Mark Cavendish will have to accept certain conditions if he is to stay with Etixx-Quick-Step and  race the 2016 Olympics on the track, says general manager Patrick Lefevere.

Cavendish's contract expires at the end of 2015 and is working on finding a new deal, but at the same time riding events to prepare for the Omnium at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"I'm not interested in the Olympics, I'm still not. Never," Lefevere told Cycling Weekly.

"If I have to pay him a huge contract to see him ride with the publicity of Sky and on another non-Specialized bike, then it would be a problem.

"I won't say [he could not ride the Olympics], but there would be some conditions."

Lefevere said that he is currently negotiating with Cavendish, working in the conditions for the Olympics next August. Cavendish's agent currently has a proposal and is due to give Lefevere a response by the end of the month.

Tour de France - Stage 7

Cavendish celebrates his 2015 Tour de France stage win (Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

Cavendish, when asked for comment, did not reply before publication of this article.

The Belgian Etixx chief also lamented Cavendish riding brandishing the Sky logo, British Cycling's partners, in qualifying events like this month's Derby Revolution Series round.

While no sponsorship will feature on the kit during the Games, due to advertising regulations, Cavendish will continue to wear the GB kit at events like Dudenhofen GP this weekend and at any other qualifying events, as well as using a non-branded bike.

"I don't know [how it would work with the road programme]. I'm not happy, the British federation thinks that they are above everybody. There's only Sky, my sponsors are not ready to pay millions for someone who wants to prepare six months for the Olympics," Lefevere added.

"If he wants to go to Rio, and he needs to do four qualifications, every time without publicity and without our bikes. If he says, 'I don't do the Tour, I want to prepare for Rio,' then it's a totally different discussion."

Cavendish raced the 2012 London Olympics road race off the back of helping team Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins win the 2012 Tour de France. That winter, he switched to Lefevere's team for 2013.

Lefevere, after three years, explained that he believes there is a 50-50 chance Cavendish will continue with his team for the 2016 season.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.