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Mark Renshaw in talks with Rabobank

HighRoad team highlights by Graham Watson
Cavendish congratulates Renshaw on one of his rare personal wins — stage 4 of the 2011 Tour of Qatar. Renshaw went on to win the overall, as well. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Mark Cavendish’s key lead-out man, Mark Renshaw, has agreed a deal that will see the Australian become the top sprinter at Dutch outfit Rabobank for the next two years, according to a report Wednesday.

Renshaw has spent the past three years riding with the HTC-Highroad team, which is set to fold at the end of the season, and helping Isle of Man teammate Cavendish rack up an impressive 20 stage wins on the Tour de France.

He was expected to continue that role and join Cavendish in his soon-to-be-announced new team, with Team Sky and nascent Australian outfit GreenEdge reportedly among the favorites to capture the Tour de France star.

However according to De Telegraaf newspaper, the 28-year-old Australian has opted to pursue personal glory with Rabobank — one of the biggest and most secure programs in cycling.

Rabobank refused to confirm the report although throughout this year Renshaw — described as the best lead-out man in the world — has expressed his desire to chase some personal glory for himself.

On Wednesday morning at the Eneco Tour, Renshaw said: “Bob Stapleton (owner of HTC-Highroad) doesn’t want us to talk about transfers before September 1. It’s a bit silly, but that’s the way it is.

“All I can say is that I’ve been in discussions with Rabobank.”

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