Cycling's dream team is breaking up. Mark Cavendish, a key component in Team Sky, last night made the shock announcement that he wishes to leave Britain's premier cycling team less than a year after he signed for the squad.
It means the world's No 1 sprinter is no longer willing to play second fiddle to this year's Tour de France winner, Bradley Wiggins.
When the 27-year-old Cavendish signed for Sky at the start of 2012, the team's stated aim was to go for both the yellow and the green jerseys in the Tour de France.
Instead, Cavendish's wishes were sidelined as the team focused on the yellow – so successfully, in fact, that they took both the number one and two spots in the Tour with Wiggins and Chris Froome.
"We had this idea that we could have this British super team that could win stages and dominate," Cavendish said at a press conference in Ipswich yesterday, ahead of the Tour of Britain.
"Dave [Brailsford, general manager of Team Sky] sold me the idea last year but for some reason it hasn't worked out like that. It's difficult to do."
The reigning world road race champion insisted: "I've been very happy at Sky. I don't want to compromise Sky and hopefully Sky won't compromise me."
Cavendish's season has seen him win three stages of the Tour de France, becoming the race's most successful ever sprinter ahead of 1950s star Andre Darrigade, as well taking two stages of the Tour of Italy. In total he has 12 wins this season, as well as a staggering 23 Tour stage wins, the fourth-highest total taken by any rider.
"I've got an ambition of winning as many stages as I can in the Tour de France and I'd kind of like to be somewhere I can do that," he said.
"Dave's stated ambitions are not really involved with sprinters or the green jersey or stage wins so it puts me in a position where I'm kind of lost. Instead of kicking and screaming I hope we can find an amicable solution about it and go on and everything be the best for both parties."
Cavendish still has two years to run on his contract, although Omega Pharma Quick Step, BMC and Katusha are all rumoured to be intersted in buying it out. Should he go to Omega, Brian Holm his longstanding director and friend from HTC, Cavendish's previous team, would be one key reason for him to head there.Reuse content