Sky reportedly waive Cavendish release fee, paving way for Omega Pharma-Quick Step switch

Paperwork relating to Sky exit set to be finalised by the end of the week; Bernie Eisel set to stay with British team?

by Simon_MacMichael   October 2, 2012  

Mark Cavendish MSR 2012 (© Simon MacMichael)

The major obstacle to Mark Cavendish's rumoured move to Omega Pharma-Quick Step for the 2013 season has reportedly been removed, with Team Sky said to have agreed to waive a €1.2 million buyout fee from his contract, which has two years left to run. The former world champion's impending departure from Sky is also likely to see him split from close friend and minder Bernie Eisel, who is said to be negotiating a contract extension.

The latest developments have been reported by Cycling Weekly, which says it will have full details in its print edition, due to hit the newsagents on Thursday. The story may already have moved on by then, however, with the magazine's website saying that the paperwork relating to Cavendish's departure is due to be finalised by the end of this week.

Reports at the weekend suggested that Specialized, which formerly supplied bikes to Cavendish's previous team, HTC-Highroad team and also supplies Omega Pharma-Quick Step, was willing to underwrite the release fee Sky were said to be demanding. Cavendish has in the past had a personal sponsorship contract with the US-based bikes and accessories brand.

Moving to Omega Pharma-Quick Step would see Cavendish reunited with key personnel from his HTC-Highroad days including directeur sportif Brian Holm and his former team manager, Rolf Aldag.

Last week, Aldag, who has been working in the sport of triathlon since HTC-Highroad folded at the end of last season but is set to return to cycling in a role at Omega Pharma-Quicj Step next season, insisted that the Belgian outfit was the logical choice for Cavendish.

"Where could he go? Who has the money? He has five possibilities but only one, Omega Pharma, really fits," he told Cycling News.

"BMC is not a solution because they have Evans and Van Garderen as their Tour de France GC guys; Katusha doesn't have any kind of lead out train; Astana might have the money but they just signed Nibali, while Rabobank has a lot of national interest in developing Dutch riders."

A switch to Omega Pharma-Quick Step, which currently lacks a serious Tour de France overall contender on its provisional 2013 roster, would mean that Cavendish would have the team's full support in trying to regain the green jersey he lost to Liquigas-Cannondale's Peter Sagan this year as Sky focused on Bradley Wiggins successful pursuit of the maillot jaune.

On Sunday, Cavendish was present at the launch in Milan of the 2013 TGiro d'Italia route and he looks likely to target that race too. In May, he was pipped to the points jersey by Joaquin Rodriguez, thereby missing out on joining a select group of riders to have won that classification in all three Grand Tours.

 

14 user comments

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Wasn't that the Giro launch?

Timbo13's picture

posted by Timbo13 [272 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 9:42

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Interesting about Eisel staying with Sky. Perhaps he will be given free reign to try for stage wins and the Classics now that his babysitting duties will come to an end Thinking

‘It is useless to meet revenge with revenge: it will heal nothing.’

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2766 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 9:47

3 Likes

stumps wrote:
Interesting about Eisel staying with Sky. Perhaps he will be given free reign to try for stage wins and the Classics now that his babysitting duties will come to an end Thinking

http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/534774/brailsford-keen-to-kee...

""He's a strong rider. He's got an opportunity in the classics, and as a team leader, as a road captain, he's second to none. He's the type of rider every ambitious team needs. I think next year looking towards the classics he'll be given a big opportunity to show everybody what he can do."

With him and possibly GT, the classics could be very interesting.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3201 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 10:15

3 Likes

Bernie is surely good enough to have real ambition in the Classics etc rather than provide shelter & support for Cavendish. Meanwhile Mark is more experienced and will have learnt plenty, he would be given lots of support team at OPQS and anyway in professional racing no friendship is sacrosanct.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1970 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 10:47

4 Likes

IMO Bernie doesnt have the real power to be a true leadout man for Cav.

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 10:58

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Darthshearer wrote:
IMO Bernie doesnt have the real power to be a true leadout man for Cav.

But that's never been his role - he's there to look after Cav, very often well away from the action the TV cameras are capturing. It's not a highly visible job, but it's one someone needs to do, and he's done it really well. It will be good to see him get his turn in the spotlight.

I'm wondering if the documents that need to be signed off at Sky to enable Cav to leave include the divorce papers from Bernie? Thinking

Seriously, it is the end of a relationship though, both have said it's like a marriage - for a start, Cav would have to get used to rooming with someone else, or perhaps it would be better to say someone else will need to get used to sharing with him, from what he and Bernie have said in the past, he is someone who likes everything to be "just so".

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8122 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 11:56

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Does anyone else think that the entire SKY experiment was a bad idea for Cav?

I was as gung-ho as anybody when the idea was mooted - seemed like a must-have team member, the two most successful brits - Cav and Wiggo - just had to be on the same team! Now the dust has settled though, that seems like a crazy plan. It didn't work out for Cav and never looked like it would...sincerely hope he can find a slot that puts him back onto the run of sprint domination we've grown so used to. Would be sad to see his last couple of years of top speed blunted by team switches and lack of support...

All the best Cav!

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 12:10

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Lacticlegs wrote:
Does anyone else think that the entire SKY experiment was a bad idea for Cav?

His big aim for 2012 was Olympic gold in London, he would have been targeting that for several years, and he would never had enjoyed the same freedom or support to pursue that goal at another team.

Barring injury he's got maybe a decade left in the sport, and that means a lot more opportunities to target the green jersey etc, something that comes round every year. A home Olympics isn't even once in a lifetime, the vast majority of athletes will never get the chance.

I think years from now when he comes to look back on his career, the fact that he gave the gold medal his best shot, and also helped secure the first Tour de France win by a British rider, will mean more to him than if he'd given less than 100 per cent to the Olympics but won the green jersey instead.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8122 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 12:28

4 Likes

could be Simon, could be...let's hope so - nothing worse than a bunch of regrets when you hang your cleats up.

Omega Pharma could be a great move - and yes, he has plenty of time still in the sport...I'm just curious about how much more time he has at the very peak - speaking historically, performances like Cav's tend to trail off slightly as the new blood arrives and close the gap. And that is certainly in progress. 2013 is gonna be interesting!

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 12:43

1 Like

All the best to Cav. Re-united with his beloved S Works. Looking forward to seeing him next year. I can't help thinking the real success for British cycling won't be how many GB riders you can squeeze into a single pro tour team - but how many Pro tour teams have GB riders. It's building up nicely.

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1059 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 22:23

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… real success for British cycling won't be how many GB riders you can squeeze into a single pro tour team - but how many Pro tour teams have GB riders.

Good point, well made.

posted by ped [165 posts]
2nd October 2012 - 22:58

5 Likes

Well, OPQS already have a British rider in Andy Fenn... although if rumours are to be believed, he's heading in the opposite direction to Cav.

But it isn't going too badly, is it... another GB win today courtesy of Adam Blythe of BMC in Binche-Tournai-Binche/Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke.

When you step back and think of the year that British riders have had between Cav winning the WC and JTL the Tour of Britain, it's phenomenal, whether on the road or track.

And meanwhile, there are younger riders coming through all the while.

Good times.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8122 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 0:44

4 Likes

The rainbow-stripes being led out, under the flamme rouge by the yellow jersey on the Rue de Rivoli was pretty cool though. That was a fairly elite train: yellow jersey, Norwegian national champion jersey, rainbow stripes.

posted by Paul J [628 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 8:05

4 Likes

I thiink Sky are keen to keep Bernie not only because he is a good rider who could forfill an important support role for the GC guys next year, but you have to look at the other side of the coin. Cav on another team means less protour points for Sky, so anything that can be done to reduce those wins has to be looked at. Reducing Cavs inner support ring is one such way to do so.
It's a professional sport after all.

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [285 posts]
3rd October 2012 - 8:56

5 Likes