Greipel leaves Arkea, Cavendish linked to Bahrain-Merida

Former teammates and longtime sprint rivals André Greipel and Mark Cavendish are heading in new directions for the upcoming seasons

Two of the peloton’s top sprinters are heading in different directions for 2020.

Mark Cavendish has been linked to a deal to join Bahrain-Merida while André Greipel is stepping away from Arkéa-Samsic at the end of the season.

A decade ago, Cavendish and Greipel emerged as the top sprinters in the peloton. After a rough season for both sprinters, the former teammates and longtime rivals are staking out new challenges for 2020.

VeloNews contributor Gregor Brown reported in Cycling Weekly that Cavendish, 34, is set to leave Dimension Data to join Bahrain-Merida. Longtime Sky trainer Rod Ellingworth, who has worked closely with Cavendish throughout his career, is poised to join as general manager.

Cavendish, a winner of 30 Tour de France stages, has suffered through a string of injuries and health issues, and has not won since early 2018. Bahrain-Merida officials have not confirmed the reports.

Greipel, meanwhile, will leave Arkea-Samsic after having his demand to end his deal accepted following just one season, the team announced on Tuesday.

Greipel, 37, who has a stage victory at all three of the grand tours, joined the French outfit after six campaigns with Lotto-Soudal.

“About four weeks ago I asked the management of the team to terminate the contract towards the end of the year. I am very grateful for the cooperation we had in 2019,” Greipel said in a statement on Arkea-Samsic’s website.

“In the first half of the season I had to fight several months with a bacterial disease and once 100 percent healed, unfortunately, this was only two weeks before the Tour de France,” Greipel said.

Cycling’s so-called “Gorilla” registered a single win with Arkea-Samsic in a race in Gabon at the beginning of the year but he managed a sixth-place finish at the final stage of the Tour de France.

“I am obviously disappointed by Andre’s performances this season even if I know he is the first affected. Our results together are far from satisfying,” Arkea-Samsic’s manager Emmanuel Hubert said.

Greipel said he would announce his plans for the 2020 campaign during the first two weeks of November after his final race at the Muensterland Giro on Thursday.

Arkéa-Samsic is undergoing big changes for 2020, with Nairo Quintana and a host of others set to join the French outfit.