Mark Cavendish wants “one more year” to cement his status as the greatest sprinter of all time, according to Adam Blythe, who also conceded that there were "lots of reasons" why the British sprint legend will struggle to find a new team for 2023.
Cavendish is without a contract for next season after being told he is no longer part of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s plans.
He won four stages at the 2021 Tour de France to equal Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 wins. However, he was denied on the Champs-Elysees to claim the record outright and so a new debate sprung up: will Cavendish win No. 35?
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Those hopes began to fade when he was snubbed from this year’s Tour as Fabio Jakobsen was named as Quick-Step’s sprinter, and continue to grow more distant with no obvious suitor stepping forward to keep the Manx Missile's sprint dream alive.
French ProTeam B&B Hotels-KTM seem the most likely destination at present, with team boss Jerome Pineau labelling their chances of signing him at “50-50”.
"Yes, we are discussing," Pineau told Le Telegramme on Monday. "He is someone I like very much. I would love to have him come to us but it's quite complicated.
"Cavendish is a cycling legend. There is the sport but not only that... It's like negotiating for a footballer. He wants to come to us, but he doesn't want to retire here either. If he comes, it will be to win. We want to win together. Today, for his recruitment, let's say it's 50-50."
Blythe and Dan Lloyd discussed Cavendish’s future on The Breakaway during Eurosport's La Vuelta coverage, with the pair admitting that there is no clear team that would accommodate the 37-year-old.

‘What the hell are you playing at?’ – Blythe slams Quick-Step for letting Cavendish leave

“There are a lot of reasons why [Cavendish] might not get a contract. His age now…” said Blythe.
“The main thing with Cav is that he wants one more chance of getting that stage win at the Tour de France to beat Eddie Merckx’s record.
“Even though he’ll say “lad, I don’t care about the record!”, he’s in this, he wants to win another Tour stage.
“After the Tour he missed out on this year, I think he wants one more year to try and prove himself; get that record, go down as the greatest sprinter – which he is already – of all time.
“But there are consequences with that. A lot of teams would pay big money for him. A lot of smaller teams to try and even get into the Tour de France – having Mark Cavendish there, the publicity around it.
“But bigger teams would look at it, [thinking that they can] spend what [Cavendish] wants to be paid on six other young riders coming through and get a lot more bang for their buck. Because he ultimately might not get this win.
“And then there’s all the things around Mark: who he is, his brand, his sponsors… everything has to play into his worth.
“It’s very difficult to answer where he’s going to go. I don’t even know where I’d suggest. I can’t think of anyone who would be the best – not with the support that he needs.”

‘Words don’t do it justice’ – Cavendish says finishing Tour ‘bigger’ than winning other races

When host Orla Chennouai suggested that any outlay on Cavendish would be recouped “10 times over at least” if he wins No. 35, Lloyd said: “It would if he got that stage win. Even the publicity on the build-up to the Tour de France would be huge, and the speculation that would be building… can he take that record-breaking victory?
“If you look down the list of World Tour level teams, lots of them are going to the Tour de France focused on GC. They don’t want to split the team and have sprint ambitions at the same time, while lots of the other teams that aren’t are already focused on another sprinter.
"You have to start looking down and think to yourself: ‘who’s got space for someone like Mark Cavendish?’”
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