When Cavendish joined his former team last year it was seen in some circles as little more than swansong and his significantly reduced contract indicated he was not considered one of the star names. of the QuickStep configuration.
However, Cavendish’s remarkable success in winning four stages of the Tour of Turkey, combined with an injury to leading sprinter Sam Bennett, means the Briton could be in line for an extremely unexpected return to the Tour, where he won 30 stages. in its history. career.
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Bennett was forced out of the Baloise Belgium Tour due to a knee problem and Cavendish emerged as a possible replacement, although Lefevere says the rider wants a proper pay raise if he has to hit the roads of France.
In quotes reported by Cyclingnews, he said: “I went to dinner with Mark Cavendish on Sunday night and the question arose: do you want to do another Grand Tour? Mark replied, ‘Not at that salary, no.’
“It may sound cynical, but I understand his point of view. Mark was 35 and joined us at the last minute. At that time, the Tour was totally out of the question. He signed a minimum contract because we had minimum expectations.
“The cards are different now. His level is much better than expected. The Tour of Turkey is only the Tour of Turkey, but it has won four stages. Mark was also coasting in the Scheldt and the Elfstedenronde, he was at least as fast as Tim Merlier in the sprint on Sunday, Mark still has his speed.
“But I understand it for the Tour de France. For him, that means running under pressure, under the media scrutiny. If he even comes close to a victory, everyone immediately starts talking about Eddy Merckx’s record. Merckx won 34 Tour stages, Mark now has thirty.
“It’s not fair to have a rider with a minimum contract as a Deceuninck-QuickStep leader sprinter, with all the pressure and expectations that come with it. I agree with Marc on this. Especially since we have never been able to offer him a complete and uninterrupted (racing) program this year.
With uncertainty lingering around Bennett, Lefevere says he could work on a new contract that would allow Cavendish to be available.
“That’s something I’m thinking about right now: extending Cavendish for the Tour, in better conditions.
“At least to solve this problem. With the level he has now, Mark wants to continue for at least a year. At least we’ll talk about it together. “
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