Cavendish could be taking his train with him. Laurent Rebours/AP/Press Association Images
Rolling On

Cavendish plot thickens as HTC look set to collapse

The collapse of a deal to keep HTC-Highroad in operation beyond the end of the 2011 season has collapsed, seemingly paving the way for Mark Cavendish’s much-anticipated move to Team Sky.

IT APPEARS THAT Tour de France green jersey winner Mark Cavendish will definitely be switching teams at the end of the season.

Already rumoured to be contemplating a switch to British-based Team Sky, the Manx sprinter’s current outfit, HTC-Highroad, had been hopeful of their ability to secure the funding necessary to keep their star man in place.

According to the Guardian’s William Fotheringham, however, negotiations with the team’s sponsor collapsed abruptly at the tail-end of last week. Manager Bob Stapleton outlined the situation.

“We had an agreement in place in principle with a new partner which would have given us enough funds to operate the team at the same level of the last four years. This deal abruptly collapsed on Sunday night.”

Highroad’s failure to secure a new sponsor for the 2012 season leaves Cavendish and, just as importantly, his lead-out team of Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel, as free agents heading in to next year.

Though Team Sky are currently thought to be leading the race for the trio and their directeur sportif, Brian Holm, new Australian team Green Edge are thought to be putting the finishing touches to a credible bid to secure the group’s services.

Facing the dissolution of his squad, one of professional cycling’s most highly decorated, Stapleton was at a loss to explain HTC’s unwillingness to finance another season.

“We were frustrated by the indecision of our title sponsor HTC who, after many months of assurances, had not come forward with a commitment to the team. That indecision remains a mystery to me.”

Stapleton went on to indicate that the sport’s numerous doping scandals and its lack of a regulated transfer system played their part in discouraging the mobile phone manufacturers.

Read Will Fotheringham’s full story at the Guardian>

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