Patrick Lefevere: 'If I thought Mark Cavendish was done, I would not have taken him back'

Cavendish had not won since 2018 when Deceuninck - Quick-Step rehired him at the start of the 2021 season

(Image credit: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Deceuninck - Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere says he takes the credit for re-signing the Mark Cavendish after he won stage two of the Tour of Turkey, his first win since 2018.

Cavendish has been looking better and better as the season goes on and had been edging closer to an elusive victory before his success in Turkey, taking third place in the Belgian Classic, Scheldeprijs, last week.

It also wasn't just a case of Cavendish just beating lesser-known sprinters; he sprinted to beat Grand Tour stage winners Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) and André Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) to take the victory.

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Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab): "If I had thought it was done with him, I would not have taken him back, I said it from the start - I had nothing to lose with Cavendish. If he failed, it was his fault. If it worked, it is my credit. I thought we'll see. So it worked. And I think, hey, it's my credit. Who else gave him a chance?

"It was close on stage one in the Tour of Turkey. In the last corner, he lost some places due to a rider who almost fell. On stage two he sprinted the way he can best.

"We have used him almost everywhere. He actually rode the team's third program. He had a very specific assignment in the Scheldeprijs. Sam Bennett had to sprint for the win. Cavendish had to be in the wheel with him so that no one else could take that place."

The outspoken Belgian team manager also spoke to CyclingNews (opens in new tab): "When I look back at the images we all saw last year at Ghent-Wevelgem, it really hurt me. I couldn’t believe that it could be the end of Mark Cavendish, and the day after De Panne he came to my office and I said I didn’t have a budget but we tried to do something.

"We figured out a solution and Mike Sinyard [head of Specialized bikes] told me that if we could get Mark on the team then he would help pay the bonuses if he won. Mike will have a bit less money this evening but he and I both loved to do this. Everyone wanted Mark on their team but they didn’t do it, but I really wanted him."

Cavendish also took the overall lead and the lead in the points classification too going into the third stage in Turkey which is likely to be another sprint and perhaps another win for the 'Manx Missile'.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.