Deceuninck-QuickStep general manager Patrick Lefevere would be an “absolute idiot” if he sends Mark Cavendish to the Tour de France over Sam Bennett, according to Eurosport expert Brian Smith.
The possibility of seeing the Manxman in Paris increased when Lefevere announced that contract talks with Bennett had broken down.
Bennett won the points classification at the Tour last year and was expected to lead Deceuninck again, but news of his looming departure could see the team shift their focus.
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Cavendish, 35, returned to form with four wins at the Tour of Turkey, fuelling hopes he could improve on his 30 stage victories at the Tour de France.
However, Smith believes that Deceuninck would be crazy to make Cavendish their main man in France.
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“I think Patrick Lefevere would be an idiot if he did it [pick Cavendish over Bennett],” said Smith.
As much as I support and love Mark Cavendish, he would be an absolute idiot if he did that.
Cavendish is second in the list of all-time stage winners, four behind Belgian legend Eddy Merckx. He last won at the Tour in 2016.
“These things do happen. We’re talking in May about people moving and things like that. Teams are not helping themselves by talking about this,” added Smith.
“I think Sam Bennett will be 100% going to the Tour de France with Deceuninck-QuickStep.”
Bennett only joined Deceuninck in 2020, quickly dethroning omnipresent points classification winner Peter Sagan at the Tour de France in September.
He is currently competing at the Tour of the Algarve, where he was won two stages.
Joao Almeida will also leave Deceuninck after the 2021 season after failing to agree a new contract.
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