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The deal with Patrick Lefevere’s team, which will be called Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in the new year, has been long in the works and negotiations have been protracted, but pen has finally been put to paper.
It was due to be signed last week but had to be postponed after Cavendish suffered a high-speed crash at the Ghent Six track race, which left him with several broken ribs and a punctured lung.
“I am incredibly proud and happy to have agreed a new deal with Deceuninck-Quick-Step,” Cavendish said. “One year ago, when I came to the team, I did not hide my admiration for what this team does and how happy I was to be back here. I knew from my first time here that this squad has a unique family feeling, and it is a culture that remains to this day.
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“The last 12 months have been phenomenal and the support that I have had from the team and the staff has made me very emotional at times. I am really looking forward to making some more special memories together over the next 12 months.”
Cavendish had a very successful spell with the team between 2013 and 2015 before returning to the Belgian squad earlier this season. The Manxman had previously expressed concerns that 2020 could be his final year of racing after several seasons struggling with injury and illness, but said he wanted to stay in the peloton.
Winner of the iconic green jersey and four Tour de France stages this year, when he took his tally to 34 victories and equaled a 46-year-old record, @MarkCavendish has signed a new contract with #TheWolfpack: https://t.co/05584SRAke pic.twitter.com/lQzSQ0SRyQ
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) December 7, 2021
He started this season with few expectations after not winning a race for almost two years. However, he took a string of wins at the Tour of Turkey in April and an injury to Sam Bennett saw him gifted an opportunity to race at the Tour de France for the first time since 2018.
Cavendish went on to win four stages of the Tour de France — and equal Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 — and take with him the second green jersey of his career.
“The whole world saw what he did this year. What they didn’t see though is the way that he speaks and leads within the team and encourages everyone,” Lefevere said.
“We have a very close group here and Mark always embodies that spirit, and while he may be the one that crosses the line with his hands in the air, he is the first to recognize the work that the team does as well, which means a lot to everyone. We are more than happy that we can continue the story with Mark for one more year.”