Mark Cavendish has apparently negotiated a free release from a three-year contract with Sky that will allow him to find a new team for next season.
Cycling Weekly understands the sprinter has avoided the team's initial demand of a seven-figure buy-out and his exit is set to be finalised in writing by the end of this week.
The departure after just a season with Sky will allow Cavendish to further discussions with other interested parties including Omega Pharma-Quick-Step.
Cavendish's free exit is contrary to La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that suggested Omega's bike sponsor, Specialized, would cover a release agreement of €1.2 million.
The Belgian-based squad has no overt general classification rider on its books and can support the Manxman and his Tour stage win and green jersey aims.
Austrian Bernhard Eisel followed Cavendish to Sky, following the demise of HTC-Highroad at the end of last season, but is negotiating a contract extension having been an instrumental road captain at the Tour de France, which team-mate Bradley Wiggins won, as well as a handy classics rider.
Read the full story in this week's Cycling Weekly magazine, on sale October 4 priced £2.99.
Cavendish comments on 2013 Giro route - after cooking risotto
Brailsford keen to keep Eisel at Sky
Cavendish to meet with Brailsford and discuss contract
Cav's gilded cage
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Sophie Smith is an Australian journalist, television reporter and presenter, who has provided coverage for Cycling Weekly from races across the world. She has covered eight Tours de France, as well as reporting for national and international newspapers as well as other magazines.
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