Dave Brailsford has admitted negotiations to bring Mark Cavendish to Sky are ‘complicated’, with no signed contract in place between the British team and the world road race champion.
Cavendish indicated in early August, having become the first Brit to win the Tour de France’s green jersey, that he had decided what team he will be riding for in 2012 – but an announcement is yet to be made.
The Manx Missile looked set to move to Team Sky but, after signing with the Wasserman management company earlier this month, the two parties have reportedly been unable to agree a deal on image rights.
“It is quite complicated,” said Brailsford, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “The new management is seeking to financially exploit the rainbow jersey.
“In view of the London Olympics, we will do everything for Cavendish to win. It would be quite sour of he was in London as Olympic champion in the colours of a foreign team.”
Cavendish’s commercial value rocketed after claiming gold in Copenhagen and a conflict has reportedly emerged regarding the 26-year-old’s personal kit sponsorship with Nike and Sky’s deal with Adidas. Cavendish is also said to want a Specialized bike but Sky have a year to run on their contract with Pinarello.
The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team will ride Specialized bikes in 2012, leading to rumours that Cavendish will sign for the Belgian outfit.
A host of Cavendish’s HTC-Highroad team-mates have already made the switch, including world time trial champion Tony Martin and Irish national champion Matt Brammeier, but the team’s manager, Patrick Lefevere, has denied a late swoop for the most prized asset of all.
“I have not exchanged three worlds with Cavendish this season,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. “I have negotiated with his friend and team-mate Bernhard Eisel. But he was quite clear to me and said, ‘Sorry, but Mark must go to Sky for many reasons and I will go along too. We have now been signed.’ So, to my knowledge, Cavendish is not free.”
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