Mark Cavendish finished second at the Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen in his final race for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at the weekend.
The Manxman was unable to get the better of sprinter Tim Merlier of Alpecin Deceuninck in the final kick for the line, with Dylan Groenewegen of BikeExchange-Jayco completing the podium at the one day race in Belgium.
On his final outing in Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl colours, Cavendish said: “I am disappointed not to win my last race with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, but I am proud of the boys and of the way we raced. They were strong today, really committed and gave me a good lead-out. I wanted to take the victory also for them, but it wasn’t possible.”
Earlier this year, Cavendish was dramatically left out of the Belgian team's line-up for the Tour de France with Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen getting the nod ahead of the British national champion.
Later in July, it was revealed that the Manx rider would be leaving Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at the end of the current season with Patrick Lefevere confirming that he was not part of the team's future plans.
“I know that he wants to do two more years in the bunch...but he's not part of our project,” Lefevere said.
In August, the Belgian team confirmed the signing of Merlier (who triumphed over Cavendish last weekend) for 2023.
In the subsequent weeks after Lefevere’s comments to the media, Cavendish was heavily linked with the B&B Hotels-KTM team. Jérôme Pineau, manager of the French outfit even admitted that the team were "deep in discussions" to sign the star sprinter for 2023.
Joining the ProTeam level B&B Hotels-KTM may initially appear to be a step down for Cavendish. However, the French team are reported to be receiving large investment for 2023 with French supermarket Carrefour coming on board as one new headline sponsor.
In comments to Le Télégramme in August, Pineau revealed that the new team name would be Paris and that they would have an increased budget of 15 million euros.
Cavendish, who equalled Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour de France stage wins last year, became British national road champion for a second time in June sprinting to victory from a breakaway in Castle Douglas, Scotland.
With his time up at Quick-Step and his future still unclear, Cavendish has been quiet on social media, not posting on his personal Instagram account since the Commonwealth Games.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1