Tim Merlier at the Bredene Koksijde Classic.

Merlier reportedly set to join Quick-Step, adding to questions about Cav’s future

Tim Merlier could be on the move this coming offseason.

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Wielerflits reports that Tim Merlier will join the team currently known as Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at the start of next season, confirming rumors that have recently circulated about the Belgian sprinter, who has ridden for Alpecin-Fenix for the past few years.

Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere has made no secret in recent months of his interest in signing the Belgian talent, and Wednesday’s news is hardly unexpected after reports have suggested that a deal was in the works for some time.

Merlier, 29, sprinted to stage wins at last year’s Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Alongside Fabio Jakobsen, Merlier would allow Quick-Step to continue to field multiple sprint talents – regardless of whether Mark Cavendish sticks around.

Indeed, Merlier’s arrival hardly bodes well for the likelihood that Cavendish will ride on with Quick-Step after his current contract is up at the end of the season.

Although Cavendish has experienced a career revival with the Belgian WorldTour outfit, things are already crowded enough for the sprinters there as it is. Cavendish is currently racing the Giro d’Italia, while the team publicly said in the run-up to this season that it expects to send Jakobsen to the Tour de France. With Jakobsen and Merlier aboard, the writing could be on the wall for Cavendish.

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