• Cycling

Cavendish leaves Sky to join Quick Step

ESPN staff
October 18, 2012 « Somerset in talks with Langer | Chartbeat test »
Mark Cavendish won three stages of the Tour de France in 2012 but missed out on the green jersey © Getty Images
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Mark Cavendish has completed his widely anticipated transfer to Omega Pharma-Quick Step after a single season spent with Team Sky.

The Belgian team focus on green jersey victories at the Grand Tours and whose current squad features a number of Cavendish's former HTC-Highroad team-mates, the ideal environment for the Manxman after a year spent playing second-fiddle to the general classification ambitions of the British outfit.

Despite winning three stages outright, Cavendish gave up on his green jersey ambitions to help Sky's Bradley Wiggins become the first British winner of the Tour de France in July.

But the 27-year-old was left frustrated by his failure both to land gold in the London Olympics 2012 road race and to defend his world title in Netherlands in September, where Quick Step won the team time trial title.

Quick Step terminated the contract of American rider Levi Leipheimer after he admitted to doping in his USADA testimony against Lance Armstrong, freeing up a space on the team roster and budget to go towards Cavendish's salary after Sky indicated they were ready to release the sprinter.

Cavendish claimed 14 of Team Sky's 50 stage victories in 2012 but rumours about his future with the team, in spite of his three-year contract, first arose after the Tour de France and gathered pace during the world championships.

Having signed a three-year deal with Quick Step, he will now share leadership responsibilities with veteran sprinter Tom Boonen and Germany's Tony Martin, who won the Tour of Beijing on Saturday.

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