Mark Cavendish secures 2021 contract with move back to Deceuninck-QuickStep

35-year-old enjoyed hugely successful stint with the wolfpack between 2013 and 2015

Mark Cavendish is to rejoin the Deceuninck-QuickStep team in 2021. Photograph:  Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Mark Cavendish is to rejoin the Deceuninck-QuickStep team in 2021. Photograph: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

 

Mark Cavendish has ended speculation over his future by agreeing a deal to return to Deceuninck-QuickStep in 2021.

The Manxman, 35, was out of contract in a difficult market this winter and had openly contemplated that his career might be coming to an end despite his desire to race on.

Cavendish’s wish has now been granted as he returns to the team with which the 30-time Tour de France stage winner secured 44 victories between 2013 and 2015.

“I can’t explain how delighted I am to be joining Deceuninck-QuickStep,” said Cavendish, who had teased the announcement by posting a picture of a wolfpack on social media, alluding to the team’s nickname.

“I have never hidden my affection for my time with the team and to me this genuinely feels like I am coming home.

“As well as the incredible group of riders, I can’t wait to start working again with the staff, most of which were here during my first spell and were part of one of the most successful periods of my career, an era that I am immensely proud of.

“Even with an extremely difficult and disrupted season this year, they have shown how strong and unified they are and I am hoping to add to even more. I can’t wait to be back in the Wolfpack.”

Cavendish was out of contract as he came to the end of the one-year deal he signed with Bahrain-McLaren last winter.

The former world champion gave a tearful, if brief, interview after Gent-Wevelgem in October, suggesting his career was drawing to a close.

Despite Cavendish’s status as arguably the greatest sprinter cycling has seen, the list of potential suitors was short as several teams struggled with the financial impact of the pandemic.

Back in October, Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere wrote a newspaper column in which he said of potentially re-signing Cavendish: “My heart says yes but my mind says no”.

But in Saturday’s announcement, Lefevere said: “Us and Mark share many beautiful memories and have a history that goes a long way back.

“We are happy to have him return to our family, as he is a leader and brings across a wealth of experience that he can share with our young riders, but at the same time we are confident he still has something to give to the team.”

Cavendish will join a powerful line-up at Deceuninck-QuickStep, home to world champion Julian Alaphilippe, rising star Remco Evenepoel, and Irish sprinter Sam Bennett, who won the green jersey at this year’s Tour.

His own pedigree is beyond doubt given his 146 career victories, though the last of those came in February 2018 as a combination of his battle with the Epstein-Barr virus and injuries has hampered him in recent seasons, and at Bahrain-McLaren he proved his worth in a lead-out role.

Cavendish is due to meet up with his new team-mates in Altea, Spain next week.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.