Mark Cavendish will be reunited with Mark Renshaw after the Australian signed a two-year deal to join Omega Pharma-QuickStep for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
With cycling’s transfer window officially opening on August 1, the Belgian team have wasted little time in adding firepower to Cavendish’s inconsistent leadout train, with Renshaw to return as the former world champion’s leadout man.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep have already announced Alessandro Petacchi will come out of retirement to join the team with immediate effect, while Renshaw will take his place in the squad in January, when his contract with Belkin Pro Cycling ends.
Renshaw was Cavendish’s leadout man at HTC-Highroad for three years, between 2009 and 2011, and the duo forged an almost unbeatable partnership, with Cavendish recording 16 Tour de France stage wins in that time, while the Manx Missile also won the green jersey in 2011.
However, the pair went their separate ways when the team disbanded at the end of that season, with Renshaw joining Belkin (then Rabobank) and Cavendish spending a year at Team Sky before moving to Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
“I’m delighted to be joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep next year,” said Renshaw. “It is one of the best teams in the world which I am looking forward to be a part of.
“Of course, after a couple of years apart, riding on the same team as my good friend Mark Cavendish again is something I am going to enjoy.
“It will be great returning to leadout duty’s fighting for victories with Cav. Hopefully we will celebrate many wins with him and the rest of the team.”
Renshaw joined Rabobank looking to forge his own path as a sprinter but the Australian has registered just two individual victories, at the Tour of Turkey and Clásica de Almería, in 19 months.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere added: “Mark is one of the most appreciated riders in his work as a lead-out man. His arrival is important to improve our potential in the preparation and execution of sprints for Cavendish, whom he already knows quite well.
“Mark will also be important for any eventual sprint by Boonen and when necessary he will put his experience to the service of our young sprinter Andy Fenn.
“With the skills and potential of Renshaw, Petacchi and Steegmans, our sprinters will be able to count on a high level lead outman in every race.”
Rigoberto Uran leaves Team Sky
Meanwhile, Omega Pharma-QuickStep have also moved to bolster their roster of general classification riders by securing the signature of Rigoberto Uran.
Uran will leave Team Sky at the end of the season and has, like Renshaw, signed a two-year contract with Omega Pharma-QuickStep for 2014 and 2015.
The Colombian has earned a reputation as one of the finest climbers in the peloton, taking over as Team Sky leader after Bradley Wiggins’ withdrawal from the Giro d’Italia to finish second overall.
“I am very pleased that I can race on a team as important as Omega Pharma-QuickStep and that I can contribute to the growth of the team,” said Olympic road race silver medallist Uran.
“The first time I came to Europe I was very close to signing with the team but then everything went up in smoke. After a few years our paths have crossed again. After the experience with Sky, who I thank for the years spent together, a new chapter in my career is beginning and I can’t wait to get started.”
Lefevere added: “Rigoberto’s arrival reinforces our team as far as the major tours are concerned.
“Uran is a top rider and his talent on climbs goes without saying. On our team he will find an atmosphere and a group of riders who are ready to support him. At the same time his experience and his skills will be important for our young athletes like Michal Kwiatkowski, for example, under a perspective of further growth.”