Sam Bennett could be leaving Deceuninck - Quick-Step at the end of the season, as the team don’t have the budget to renew his contract.
Team boss Patrick Lefevere has said Bennett, winner of the green jersey in the 2020 Tour de France, wants to stay with the squad but that money may be the deciding factor in the negotiations.
Bennett is coming to the end of his two-year contract with Belgian team Deceuninck, having left Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of the 2019 season.
Lefevere told cycling website Wielerflits: “He doesn't want to leave, but I don't have as much money as some
“I used to have to negotiate for two days during the Tour de France, now I have been besieged by managers for two days. I had to go from meeting to meeting. Whether it is purely a matter of money? You have to ask him [Bennett].”
Lefevere is known for a strict system within his team when it comes to contract negotiations, which often sees star riders leave the squad at the peak, including the likes of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Elia Viviani (Cofidis).
Despite the relatively low budget of Deceuninck, the team routinely tops the leaderboard for most UCI victories, last season picking up 39 wins.
Lefevere said: “The fact that these types of riders leave is life. As pros they have to earn as much money as possible. But look at the sprinters who left us.”
In his latest column for the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Lefevere also announced their general classification contender João Almeida will be leaving his team at the end of the season, saying Almeida’s manager has “shown relatively little respect in the negotiations.”
Almeida is currently racing the Giro d’Italia alongside Deceuninck’s other GC racer Remco Evenepoel, after the Portuguese rider led the Italian Grand Tour for two weeks last season.
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