Rival team tried to sign Cavendish

Tue, 14 Feb 06:27:00 2012

Omega Pharma-Quick Step tried to sign Mark Cavendish before the Manxman decided to join Team Sky for the 2012 season.

British rider Mark Cavendish of Team Sky prepares for the fifth stage of the Tour of Qatar cycling race between the Camel Race Track and the Al Khor Corniche, north of Doha February 9, 2012 - 0

The Belgian team wanted to add Cavendish to their roster after the disbandment of his former team HTC-Highroad, but the British connection with Sky proved too strong for the world champion.

“We tried with Mark Cavendish, but there was so much pressure from England from the British Olympic Committee and Sky , that it was impossible to pick him up,” team manager Patrick Lefevere told the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step did, however, succeed in bringing in six former HTC riders after directeur sportif Brian Holm made the move.

Holm's connections with Tony Martin, Peter and Martin Velits, Bert Grabsch, Frantisek Rabon and Matthew Brammeier were a major factor in Lefevere's decision to bring the DS on board.

"He was important for me so that I could get people like Tony Martin into the team. Brian was the first who came and then was followed by the riders,” Lefevere said.

He added: "Quick Step is the last team I would have mentioned, if you had asked me a year ago. I came to a team that won seven races in 2011. It's a huge challenge to change that. But we have already won several."

Omega Pharma-Quick Step have already registered 10 wins so far this season - compared to Omega Pharma-Lotto's 11 and Quick Step's seven overall last year.

Eurosport

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