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Cavendish extends deal with Belgian cycling team for 1 year

December 7, 2021 GMT

BRUSSELS (AP) — British cyclist Mark Cavendish extended his contract Tuesday with Deceuninck–Quick-Step, the Belgian team that has been crucial in reviving his career.

The team run by manager Patrick Lefevere said the sprinter will stay with them for one more season.

The 36-year-old Cavendish equaled Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 Tour de France stage wins in July.

“The last 12 months have been phenomenal and the support that I have had from the team and the staff has made me very emotional at times,” Cavendish said. “I am really looking forward to making some more special memories together over the next 12 months.”

Cavendish, after a bout of depression and several seasons of struggles on and off the bike, secured a new contract with his former team for the 2021 season. He convinced Lefevere he could perform at the top level again, but he was not expected to ride at the Tour and did not train specifically for the three-week race.

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Cavendish received a late call-up as a replacement for Sam Bennett and unexpectedly dominated bunch finishes again at cycling’s biggest race. Cavendish won four stages to match Merck’s record and also claimed the best sprinter’s green jersey.

“The whole world saw what he did this year. What they didn’t see, though, is the way that he speaks and leads within the team and encourages everyone,” Lefevere said. “We have a very close group here and Mark always embodies that spirit, and while he may be the one that crosses the line with his hands in the air, he is the first to recognize the work that the team does as well, which means a lot to everyone.”

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