Cycling: Mark Cavendish leaves Team Sky to become QuickStep's focus


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The Independent Online

Mark Cavendish resolved his future yesterday but that was the only clear direction taken on what was another muddling day for cycling and its governing body, the UCI.

The Briton's long predicted – and amicable – separation from Sky was completed with his move to Omega Pharma-QuickStep. The Belgium team will make Cavendish the focus of their squad as they chase stage wins. The move re-unites Cavendish with Brian Holm, his team director at HTC-Highroad before his move to Sky last year.

The switch was eased by Cavendish's new employers sacking Levi Leipheimer, one of those who admitted doping while a team-mate of Lance Armstrong's.

Yesterday the UCI continued to display an alarming lack of leadership as it studies the case assembled by the United States Anti-Doping Agency against Armstrong and others. First Hein Verbruggen, the UCI's honorary president, said there would be no response until the end of next week only for a spokesperson for the governing body to reveal a few hours later the response could come anytime from today. The UCI have until 31 October to give their verdict on Usada's evidence.

Verbruggen, who ran the UCI throughout the period under investigation, was also forced to deny he said there was no evidence that Armstrong had doped. In an exchanged of text messages with a Dutch journalist, Verbruggen wrote: "The only thing I can say is there are many, many stories and suspicions but there is no trace of EVIDENCE [sic]."



In a second text he wrote: "LA was never found positive, neither by USADA and anyone aware of testing procedures knows you can't make a deal." Verbruggen insisted he was only talking about claims the UCI had covered up a positive test on Armstrong in 2001 and not commenting on the wider issues raised in the Usada case.