Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere has re-confirmed that Mark Cavendish is not part of the team’s future plans as the Belgian team took the Tour de France rest day to unveil a new major long-term sponsor.
Soudal, who previously sponsored Caleb Ewan’s Lotto team, will move over to Lefevere’s squad which will become known as Soudal-Quick-Step from 2023.
The new sponsorship will last for five years, stability that will allow the team to build for the future, yet one that is without the British sprinter Mark Cavendish.
“He will not stay, I think not, it is not possible. It hurts my heart,” Lefevere told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I would like…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. I know he wants to race for another two years… but it is not part of our project.”
Soudal-Quick-Step’s future will centre around Remco Evenepoel, who has a contract until 2026, while Julian Alaphilippe and Kasper Asgreen are also contracted until the end of 2024.
Only six riders on the team’s current roster are out of contract at the end of the year, including Iljo Keisse who will become a sports director for Quick-Step next year. Yves Lampaert is another and talks are said to be progressing well between the rider and Lefevere.
At the end of 2023, however, there are 20 riders with their current deals expiring, including Fabio Jakobsen, Michael Mørkøv, Florian Sénéchal and Rémi Cavagna.