WorldTour team Dimension Data have announced their performance director Rolf Aldag will leave at the end of the 2019 season.
A statement released by the South African squad insists the decision was an “entirely amicable step” that was “mutually decided”.
Dimension Data’s Tour de France, rather than being defined by results, was dominated by the fallout from the decision not to take Mark Cavendish to the French Grand Tour, where he has won 30 stages during his career.
Aldag said at the time that the team’s general manager Doug Ryder overruled him in the decision over Cavendish, after originally selecting him for the race.
“There’s no secret about it. I wanted to have him here and I think he would have suited our strategy but ultimately it was a team owner decision,” Aldag said at the start of stage one.
“It’s within my responsibility to select a team and I called eight names and Mark was included.”
Speaking on Aldag’s departure, Ryder said: “Rolf’s wide knowledge of the sport, which he was always willing to share, his skilled engagement with our partners and the implementation of systems and structures together with his belief in the core ideal of the team – in that we are changing lives through bicycles – sees him depart as a valued member of our team’s story.”
Aldag added: “After working productively for four years with the team, for me the bike handovers to South African kids at trainings camps in Cape Town will forever be one of the most emotional and memorable moments in my career. And so I will continue to deeply root for the team’s success in what it hopes to achieve, on and off the bike.”
Both Cavendish and Dimension Data have struggled for results over the past two seasons, with the Manxman having only recently recovered from the Epstein-Barr virus that had plagued his performance over the last couple of years.
Dimension Data, who will become Team NTT in 2020, have signed Lotto-Soudal’s Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts for the new season in a three-year contract that runs through to 2022.
Meanwhile, Cavendish has been rumoured to be leaving for Bahrain-Merida, where he would be teaming up with his old Team Sky performance direction Rod Ellingworth, who will become Bahrain-Merida team principal in October.
Wout Poels and Bernie Eisel are also reported to potentially be making the switch to the Middle East-based team.