Cycling

Future unclear for Mark Cavendish

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Mark Cavendish's uncertain future remains up in the air after finishing the Tour de France with just one stage success.

The 30-year-old added a 26th Tour stage win of his career on stage seven to Fougeres but, by his high standards, it was an underwhelming three weeks on an albeit challenging route.

The Manxman was unbeaten on the Champs-Elysees in his first four visits, from 2009 to 2012, and lost for just the second time on Paris' most famous boulevard as Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) won.

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It had been reported that Cavendish was ill overnight and he could finish only sixth as Greipel celebrated a fourth stage success of the 2015 race.

There could be repercussions for Cavendish, who won four stages in 2008, six in 2009, five in 2010 and 2011, three in 2012 and two in 2013.

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He is out of contract with Etixx-Quick Step and may have to compromise on his lucrative deal, reportedly worth £2.1million per year, to stay with the Belgian squad.

His unforgiving boss Patrick Lefevere had said prior to the Tour he would be "satisfied" if the Manxman won five stages.

He has fallen well short of that tally and could now be seeking a new team, with MTN-Qhubeka and Trek among those rumoured to be chasing his signature for the 2016 season.

Marcel Kittel ended Cavendish's winning streak in Paris in 2013 - as well as denying the Briton a win in Harrogate a year later - but was absent in this year's Tour.

Cavendish's Etixx-QuickStep squad erred on stage two to Zeeland and again on stage five to Amiens, before he finally claimed the 26th Tour stage success of his career.

He is eight behind Eddy Merckx's record and, if it once seemed a matter of when he would break the mark of 34, now it is a question of 'if'.

Without key leadout men Tony Martin and Mark Renshaw, who did not reach Paris, Cavendish had to bide his time and fight for position on his own.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was the first to launch his sprint, but Greipel powered by and held off Bryan Coquard (Europcar) to triumph.

Cavendish was squeezed out of contention - and now he may be squeezed out of his team.

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Topics:
Cycling
Tour De France

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