Eurosport expert Adam Blythe has ripped into Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl boss Patrick Lefevere after it was announced Mark Cavendish will leave the team.
Cavendish was a controversial omission from Quick-Step’s line-up for the Tour de France as Fabio Jakobsen was preferred as the team’s sprinter.
The 37-year-old signalled his resurgence with four stage wins and the green jersey at last year’s Tour, victories that saw him equal Eddy Merckx’s long-standing record of 34 wins in France.
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But Lefevere announced on Tuesday that Cavendish was “not part of our project”, leaving the Brit searching for a new team when his contract expires at the end of the season. It has not gone down well with Blythe.
“Patrick, what the hell are you playing at? It’s Mark Cavendish, the greatest sprinter of all time,” began Blythe.
“You stopped him going to the Tour de France this year, you didn’t give him that opportunity to get that record. Has Eddy Merckx paid you? I don’t know…
“For me, Mark Cavendish, you can never write him off. You just need to give him that chance. The Tour de France is the Tour de France and Mark turns into another rider coming into that. I think it would only be fair if Patrick would do that.”
Cavendish, who said he only found out about his Tour non-selection via social media, is hoping to land a two-year contract as he seeks another crack at cycling’s biggest race.
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“I don’t know what all this means for Mark Cavendish,” continued Blythe.
“He’s got to look for another contract now and I do hope that he can prove Patrick Lefevere wrong in not taking him to the Tour and not letting him be part of the team in the future.”
Lefevere offered some typically blunt reasoning when explaining why Cavendish would not race with the team into 2023.
"I know he wants to race for another two years, but he is not part of our project," said Lefevere.
"It hurts my heart," Lefevere acknowledged. "I would like [him to stay], but every now and then the time comes to say thank you for everything he has done for the team, and I hope vice versa."
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