Mark Renshaw leads, Tour of Qatar 2011, stage four

Mark Cavendish's loyal HTC-Highroad team-mate Mark Renshaw will join Rabobank for 2012, the Dutch team confirmed this afternoon.

Despite rumours linking him to the new Australian GreenEDGE team, Renshaw has signed a two-year contract with Erik Breukink's team.

Stories in the Dutch media suggest that Rabobank faced opposition from Team Sky for Renshaw's signature, but their offer of making him team leader was the key factor in his decision.

However, Cycling Weekly understands that the complications with signing a key member of the Australian set up could have caused problems for Sky in an Olympic year.

Speaking about his impending move, Renshaw said: "For many years I have helped others to win races, now I'm going to try to win some of the biggest competitions myself.

"The Rabobank Cycling Team is one of the most professional teams with a solid structure, so I can pursue my goals."

Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw, Tour of Qatar 2011, stage four

Loyal servant: Cavendish has always praised the efforts of his team-mates

Renshaw has played a key role in the majority of Cavendish's 20 Tour de France stage victories, most notably the incredible lead-out on the Champs-Elysees at the end of the 2009 Tour.

He was also thrown out of last year's race for headbutting Garmin's Julian Dean on the stage into Bourg-lès-Valence, which Cavendish duly won.

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Nick Bull is an NCTJ qualified journalist who has written for a range of titles, as well as being a freelance writer at Beat Media Group, which provides reports for the PA Media wire which is circulated to the likes of the BBC and Eurosport. His work at Cycling Weekly predominantly dealt with professional cycling, and he now holds a role as PR & Digital Manager at SweetSpot Group, which organises the Tour of Britain.