LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s world road cycling champion Mark Cavendish wants an amicable end to his Team Sky contract less than a year after signing for Dave Brailsford’s outfit, he said on Saturday.
Cavendish, who has won 23 stages of the Tour de France, will meet Brailsford at the Tour of Britain, which starts in Ipswich on Sunday, and is hoping the principal will not demand any compensation for allowing the rider to join another team.
“I want the best for British cycling, it has grown so much and we had this idea that we could have this British super team,” he told a news conference ahead of the Tour of Britain.
“We can win GCs (general classifications), we can win stages, we can win the green jersey, we can just go and dominate and Dave sold me that idea last year but for some reason or another it hasn’t worked out like that. It’s difficult to do.”
With Sky’s efforts focused on helping Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France there has been speculation Cavendish could join the Belgian team Omega-Pharma-Liquigas and be reunited with his sporting director at HTC-Highroad, Brian Holm.
On the Tour Cavendish sacrificed his chances of successfully defending the green jersey he won for the first time in 2011 and worked as a domestique.
“Winning the yellow jersey is the biggest thing in cycling, for me not to want a team and a company I love not to go and do the biggest thing would be wrong,” said the 27-year-old Manxman.
“But obviously it restricts me and what I can do as a professional cyclist myself. I have got an ambition of winning as many stages as I can in the Tour de France and I want to be somewhere I can do that. We had ambitions that can’t work out.”
Cavendish is edging closer to Eddy Merckx’s 34 Tour de France stage wins after taking the 18th and 20th stages and triumphing on the Champs-Elysees for a fourth straight year but his ambitions are clearly at odds with Sky‘s.
”If they want to go and do it again, why not? The yellow jersey is the biggest prize in sport, but Dave’s stated ambitions are not really involving sprinters or a green jersey or stage wins so that puts me in a position where I am lost.
“Rather than kicking and screaming I hope we can come to an amicable solution and we can have the best for both parties.”
Despite being unsettled, Cavendish had a successful season, winning 12 times, including the three stages at the Tour.
“I’ve been very happy at Sky. I am still happy at Sky. It’s the guys I grew up racing with, a management I grew up racing with. I don’t want to compromise Sky and hopefully Sky won’t compromise me,” added Cavendish.
”I’ve not said anything before, I’ve just heard things and read things. The Tour de France is the hardest sprint event in the world and it became apparent this year that you can’t go in with a two-pronged attack.
”I was incredibly proud to be part of that team that won a yellow - that was a big thing in my career, it will go down as possibly the biggest thing of my career.
”I’ve got a two-year contract with Sky and it will be interesting to see what Dave says. I’ve seen some... talk of a release fee but I don’t think Dave would do that.
“I’ve known Dave since I was 14. He has seen me grow my career and I’ve seen him grow and conduct the most successful team in cycling and I hope that (a release fee) is just speculation and everything can work out amicably for everyone.”
Writing by Ken Ferris; Editing by Toby Davis