Team boss accuses Mark Cavendish of trying to ‘cash in’ on historic season

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Mark Cavendish won four stages at the 2021 Tour de France  (AFP via Getty Images)
Mark Cavendish won four stages at the 2021 Tour de France (AFP via Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish has been accused of trying to “cash in” on his resurgent 2021 season by his Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere.

Cavendish is not contracted with the team for next season and is currently in negotiations over a new deal.

However after a stunning return to form that saw the sprinter take four stages at the 2021 Tour de France to equal Eddy Merckx’s individual stage-winning record, the ever-punchy Lefevere has suggested Cavendish is over-estimating his value.

“I respect Mark Cavendish,” Lefevere wrote in his column in Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.

“We saved his skin. We gave him all the tools. He took the challenge and he did it. And now it begins. Now he thinks it is time to cash in again.”

Cavendish accepted a contract of limited base value to re-sign for Deceuninck-QuickStep for the 2021 season.

His career appeared to be winding to a close after twice battling Epstein-Barr virus and showing limited signs of the sort of explosive power that made him the world’s fastest sprinter.

Yet the 2011 world champion returned to somewhere near his best this season, capitalising after an injury to Sam Bennett created a sprinting vacancy in the Deceuninck-QuickStep team for the Tour and taking four bunch sprint victories.

“Will he do the same again? That seems unlikely to me,” Lefevere said of Cavendish’s successes in France.

“And then the next discussion begins, how much he should earn next year. That’s a very difficult one, even for me.

“I can hardly give someone who wins four stages in the Tour and the green jersey, four stages in the Tour of Turkey and a stage in the Tour of Belgium the same wage as this year.

“Mark Cavendish has sky-high expectations in that regard and I’m very realistic. That’s a difficult marriage.”

Lefevere also suggested that Fabio Jakobsen is due to be his team’s preferred sprinter for the 2022 Tour de France.

The Dutchman has fought back from a horrific crash last year and took three stages at the recent Vuelta a Espana.

Bennett will depart the team to return to Bora-Hansgrohe after the deterioration of his relationship with Lefevere.

Sam Bennett (centre) won two stages of the 2020 Tour de France for Deceuninck-QuickStep (AFP)
Sam Bennett (centre) won two stages of the 2020 Tour de France for Deceuninck-QuickStep (AFP)

The Belgian was widely condemned after comparing Bennett’s return to Bora to a woman returning home after domestic abuse.

Earlier this month, Lefevere accused the Irishman of “playing with my balls in public” after Bennett was named in his country’s team for the European Championships in Trento, Italy.

Bennett had not raced since May citing a knee injury, but is set to return to racing with his trade team at Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen in Belgium on Friday.

Read More

Ethan Hayter: British cycling is thriving as latest star makes statement at Tour of Britain

Cycling needs to trust itself again before it can enjoy Tour de France phenomenon Tadej Pogacar

Tour de France: How new technology is letting elite and recreational cyclists understand their performance better than ever – and maybe too much

Mark Cavendish praised by Gareth Southgate for ‘phenomenal achievement’ at Tour de France

Mark Cavendish’s Tour de France solo glory is a triumph of meticulous teamwork

British cycling thriving as Ethan Hayter makes statement at Tour of Britain

Schoolboy cyclist ‘shocked’ after outpacing professionals on Tour of Britain

American Robin Carpenter wins the second stage of the Tour of Britain in Exeter

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting