Cycling - Cavendish: I was a back-up rider at Team Sky

Mark Cavendish has admitted that he felt like a 'back-up rider' at Team Sky and that the British team reneged on promises made when they signed him.

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Cycling - Cavendish: I was a back-up rider at Team Sky
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2012 Tour de France Champs-Elysees Sky Wiggins Cavendish

The sprint superstar has signed a three-year contract with Omega Pharma - Quick Step after spending just one year at Sky where he was at times relegated to the role of domestique for Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins.

The Isle of Man's former world champion told the Daily Telegraph: "The Sky company slogan says ‘Believe in better’ but in the end we didn’t really buy into that. We could have been better this year.

"It wasn’t a failure, and I was very proud to be part of a British yellow-jersey winning team with Brad, but it wasn’t the ultimate either. We didn’t achieve what I thought we were setting out to achieve at the start of the season.

“I always set the bar high. Chris Froome could have won two more stages, I should have won another two and Sky should have taken both jerseys. We could have done that without any risk or detriment to the yellow jersey.

“It’s frustrating. My mentality is that I am not happy unless we have got absolute perfection and have won everything we could have won.”

Cavendish said that the project he was sold on to move to Sky was not the one that eventually transpired to be.

The 27-year-old believed he could win five stages and defend his green jersey at the Tour de France if Bernhrad Eisel and Juan Antonio Flecha were added to the Sky team to help him out but in the end just Eisel was selected and Cavendish went on to win only three stages.

“It was (on the eve of the Tour) that I realised the promise I had signed to Sky on wasn’t really a promise,” he said.

"I was a back-up rider. At the end of the day we weren’t going for the two jerseys at all.”

Nevertheless Cavendish said he felt 'content' with the season and enjoyed wearing the rainbow jersey for 12 months – an honour bestowed upon him for winning the 2011 world championship.

"It was a tough year, but I did the rainbow jersey proud, which was the most important thing for me.

"It was a thrill pulling it on every day in training and a thrill racing as much as I could to honour the jersey. Personally I feel I should have achieved more but I’m content.”

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