This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Mark Cavendish became the rider with the fourth highest number of wins at the Tour on Sunday when he took his 23rd stage win but the world champion may still want more than his team can offer. With Bradley Wiggins and Sky’s Tour de France victory comes the expectation to repeat this success and that may mean Cavendish is left to fend for himself.
Cavendish was only given two complete lead-outs at this year’s Tour and while he won three stages, it could have been more. Last year we saw a team solely dedicated to his sprinting prowess and he didn’t fail to repay his teammates. He won five stages and the points jersey. Twelve months later we watched the rider in the rainbow stripes collecting bottles for his teammates. He knew the deal before coming to the start of the Tour but that doesn’t mean he is entirely happy about it.
"I understood the deal with Cavendish and Sky very well. After the world championships in Copenhagen he [Cavendish] felt he owed something to Bradley Wiggins," said Omega Pharma-Quickstep director Brian Holm to Het Nieuwsblad.
Holm was a sports director during Cavendish’s time with HTC-Highroad and believes, along with his current director Dave Brailsford, that Cavendish may be looking to change teams for 2013. Cavendish signed a multi-year with the British outfit and at the end of last season but according to Brailsford, he’s welcome to leave.
"If he felt, or if it was felt, that he would like a dedicated team around him, then he is quite within his rights to want to do that, said Brailsford to the BBC.
There’s little information to suggest Cavendish would change teams but with the Sky squad having proven their grand tour ability with Wiggins and Chris Froome, his move is a real possibility.
"This team will keep its GC ambitions and I am sure that we will sit down and discuss that with Mark and see how he feels about that," said Brailsford.
Sky would prefer to keep the fastest sprinter in the world on the team but if a transfer is possible, numerous teams will look for his signature.
"He is a prolific British winner and on the one hand we would love to have a prolific British winner on the team," said Brailsford.
"I am interested in all available top riders. I assume that his agency still has my mobile number in its file. If I can believe the media, he has an annual salary of 2.4 million euro," said Holm.