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Ouest-France has reported that Mark Cavendish has agreed on terms with Jérôme Pineau’s French team for 2023. According to the French publication, the deal is for one year, with the option of a second.
Pineau currently runs the B&B Hotels – KTM team but the squad is set to receive fresh investment from the city of Paris.
VeloNews reached out to the current B&B Hotels team for comment with the team stating: “We will make no comment on what came out today in Ouest-France, except denying all this information. We will unveil every detail about the team’s future on October 26th.”
Cavendish has been scouting for a team since the summer after Quick-Step team boss Patrick Lefevere confirmed that the veteran sprinter would not be offered a contract extension to stay on the Belgian team. Cavendish, 37, had been linked with a number of teams, including Trek-Segafredo, Intermarche, and EF Education-EasyPost but he seems destined to race for Pineau’s second-division team next season.
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During the year, Cavendish enlisted the help of Dutch agency Sports Entertainment Group (SEG) to help find a new team. SEG has already positioned a number of its riders on Pineau’s team for next year, with Nick Shultz, Cees Bol, and Stephen Williams all set to race for the team.
Ramon Sinkeldam (Groupama-FDJ), and Maximiliano Richeze (UAE Team Emirates) are also set to be announced alongside Cavendish at a team presentation on October 26 in Paris, a day before the Tour de France unveils its 2023 race route. Cavendish will then head to Singapore and Saitama for two ASO-endorsed criteriums.
The move to Pineau’s team would generate an opportunity for Cavendish to enjoy an automatic selection for the Tour de France and the chance to edge ahead of Eddy Merckx for the all-time record for stage wins in the Tour. Both riders are currently sat on 34 stage wins, and it’s unlikely that Merckx will add to his tally any time soon.
Cavendish missed out on Tour de France selection this year at QuickStep, with Fabio Jakobsen getting the nod. He would have no such selection problems at Pineau’s team with most of the team geared towards his needs. Bol, Sinkeldam, and Richeze would combine into a formidable leadout, while the team is also set to upgrade to BMC bikes in 2023.
At the weekend, WielerFlits reported that Amazon France would be stepping on board as a financial backer as Pineau secures additional funds from the city of Paris ahead of the 2024 Olympic Games. It’s still unclear what the name of the team will be next year, but VeloNews revealed last week that the team had met the UCI’s October deadline for the bank guarantee to be submitted.