After weeks of back and forth, it looks like Mark Cavendish and Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere have finally come to an agreement.
“I read that the negotiations between Mark Cavendish and I are difficult and that the water is deep,” wrote Lefevere in his column Het Nieuwsblad. “The reality is somewhat different. I will see Mark face to face next week when he is in Belgium for the World Championships. It’s easier to talk than on the phone. We have now reached an agreement on salaries and bonuses. The only point of contention is what Mark can do after his career. He would like to stay involved with our team and that is certainly negotiable for me.
While his immediate racing future seems to be confirmed, the only question remaining is what will happen next – what will Cavendish do once he “hangs up his wheels”? The Manx missile itself has a few ideas.
“Partly it’s a financial story,” continued Lefevere. “What Mark wanted to win this year, we could spread it over two years. But anyway, he doesn’t just want to enjoy a ceremony. Mark wants to do something that makes sense. What exactly, I would like to let him introduce himself. In my experience, all runners today want to be performance managers, but the problem is that they often take themselves too much as a benchmark. What worked for you won’t necessarily work for someone else.
With 15 years of racing and victories under his belt, Cavendish is considered a valuable teammate and motivator. off the bike. Maybe a more formal version of this is where its future lies with Deceuninck-QuickStep. And then there’s ‘Mark Cavendish’ the brand.
“Another possibility is that he is walking alongside me, in a managerial position,” Lefevere said. “Mark is someone who opens doors. He has the name, and you have to give it to him: he can also explain it. Companies such as Science in Sport and McLaren entered cycling through Mark. He also has a great relationship with energy drink maker Monster. In this role he can certainly be valuable for our team, although I also say: my main sponsors are fixed until 2027. The secondary sponsors also for two or three years. We don’t have a lot of space there.
Obviously, Lefevere sees some value in keeping Cavendish around, and yet he’s still bound to sow the seeds of doubt – something that won’t surprise anyone. Nor the news that there is air to be cleared up between the boss of the Deceuninck team and the Manx Missile. Although in fairness to everyone involved, no one has predicted that Cavendish’s successes in 2021 will exceed expectations so far.
“This year we haven’t been able to play Mark’s image enough,” Lefevere explained. “He ran on a minimum contract and didn’t think that was part of the deal. I can hardly blame him. We will also clean the air on this next week.