Cavendish joins Omega Pharma-QuickStep

18 October 2012 / 17:15

Mark Cavendish will ride for Belgian team Omega Pharma-QuickStep next season, Team Sky have announced.

The 27-year-old from the Isle of Man expressed a desire to move on 12 months into a three-year contract, believing Team Sky's stated ambitions and his own no longer matched.

Earlier this week Cavendish was preparing for a second season with Team Sky after protracted talks over an early termination broke down, but now the Manxman will get his wish to move on.

A statement on read: "Mark Cavendish is to leave Team Sky to join Belgian team Omega Pharma-QuickStep ahead of the 2013 season."

Omega Pharma-QuickStep have long been favourites for Cavendish's signature and a place was made vacant on their roster when Levi Leipheimer left the team.

The Belgian squad and their sporting director Brian Holm, who worked with Cavendish at HTC-Highroad, have the desire and capability to make the Briton their Grand Tour leader and prioritise stage success.

Cavendish, a winner of 23 Tour de France stages, had no such guarantees at Team Sky, whose July win in the French event with Bradley Wiggins heightened their desire to target overall victory in all three Grand Tours.

Cavendish won the world title in September 2011 and joined Team Sky a few weeks later after leaving the disbanding HTC-Highroad team, which he led and where he won 20 Tour stages in four editions of the fabled race. He also won the 2009 Milan-San Remo Classic.

Cavendish signed for Team Sky, featuring many friends and colleagues from the British Cycling system he came through, believing it would be possible to challenge for overall glory and the points classification's green jersey at the Tour, a prize he won in 2011.

Wiggins was the undisputed leader in July, with Cavendish's aims an afterthought, and became the first British winner of the yellow jersey.