The world’s fastest man just found a new home with some familiar faces.
After riding the Tour with little to no support and still taking three stages, Mark Cavendish admitted the Team SKY experiment, while fun, wasn’t going to work. Riding on a British team with British riders for that nation’s first Grand Tour win on the toothpick-like legs of Brad Wiggins was a huge success, but both SKY directors and riders knew that Cav wouldn’t play second fiddle again. Even as his year as World Champion wound down, Cav was in negotiations with a few teams, working to get his contract picked up and SKY paid a sizeable transfer fee. Teams like BMC, Rabobank, even Lampre were thrown around, but for Cav, there was only one destination that looked comfortable. Much of his former HTC team is on the roster, including Time Trial World Champion Tony Martin and director Brian Holm. And it may not be too much of a coincidence that OmegaPharma-QuickStep just terminated Levi Leipheimer’s sizeable contract after his doping past came out. The American, who must serve a six month ban whether he is under contract or not, unwittingly made an extra bit of elbow room for Cavendish on a team that now will feature leadership in Tom Boonen, Tony Martin and Cav.
Will OPQS become the new HTC? It’s possible. It’s got all the right pieces in place.