Mark Cavendish has apparently negotiated a free release from a three-year contract with Sky that will allow him to find a new team for next season.

Cycling Weekly understands the sprinter has avoided the team’s initial demand of a seven-figure buy-out and his exit is set to be finalised in writing by the end of this week.

The departure after just a season with Sky will allow Cavendish to further discussions with other interested parties including Omega Pharma-Quick-Step.

Cavendish’s free exit is contrary to La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that suggested Omega’s bike sponsor, Specialized, would cover a release agreement of €1.2 million.

The Belgian-based squad has no overt general classification rider on its books and can support the Manxman and his Tour stage win and green jersey aims.

Austrian Bernhard Eisel followed Cavendish to Sky, following the demise of HTC-Highroad at the end of last season, but is negotiating a contract extension having been an instrumental road captain at the Tour de France, which team-mate Bradley Wiggins won, as well as a handy classics rider.

Read the full story in this week’s Cycling Weekly magazine, on sale October 4 priced £2.99.

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Related links 

Cavendish comments on 2013 Giro route – after cooking risotto

Brailsford keen to keep Eisel at Sky 

Cavendish to meet with Brailsford and discuss contract 

Cav’s gilded cage

  • Stepho

    Some weird negative comments about the (possibly) best sprinter who has ever lived! There’s no way Sky can offer him the sort of support that he deserves. Perhaps you guys enjoy watching the World Champion carrying bottles for his team mates but I don’t. And give him a break on the media outbursts, I doubt many of us could stay calm with that much adrenalin coursing through our veins and people asking quite stupid and insulting questions. Sky have chosen GC, fair enough and have generously waived the financial penalty in gratitude for a year’s total commitment from Cav. I can’t wait for next year!

  • Mick W

    Good Luck to all concerned . Leaving on good terms is always wise ; a return is always possible if priorities change……..As for being a “Stroppy Bugger”, ……of course he is. That`s what makes him a Champion !

  • cyclemike

    His usefulness has expired.
    Sky led him to the world championship, so sky could have TDF winner, Olympic gold medalist and world champion in one team for the year. How many other teams can boast this.
    He knew what he was signing up for at the start. I am in favour of letting the stroppy little bugger leave.
    ( I refer you to the outburst at the BBC interviewer on the interview when he failed to get his gold road race medal elect..and was asked if it was fatigue from the TDF) Compare this to Chris Froome when asked awkward questions about his Velluta adventures.
    I am really surprised he has gone for free, I read that as a sign of how keen Sky are to get rid! not how good he is at negotiations.

  • Colnago dave

    Like JM I’m not sure if leaving Sky is the best move, certainly Sky seem to be putting all their eggs in the basket called grand tours, but winning stages is what it is all about. With Cav it is a sure thing as he rarely is out of place and barring crashes he wins

    And to Andy – How do you justify calling Cav a tosser – sour grapes

  • JM

    Can’t help but think that he is making a mistake. He won more races than he did last year. But for being caught in two crashes in the early stages of the TdF it would have been service as usual and a possible green jersey. Sky are clearly willing and capable of working for him. Frankly he is so good he doesn’t need a full 8 man lead out train. Stay put Mark!

  • Andy

    Cavs a t0sser. Good ridence.

  • gg/gg

    Hope he doesn’t take Eisell with him; Eisell deserves to be given the chance to show what a good rider/ leader he can be and Sky will give him that opportunity,he has place nursemaid far too long

  • Chris

    Good move for both, maybe EBH can compete with Sagan in this years Tour green jersey. I hope Eisel stays and with Flecha going, can become Skys classics rider!

  • geegee

    Hope Eisel stays with Sky he has been a nurse maid for too long and need to realise his potential as Classics rider and team leader

  • William Hirst

    I never got why Cav went to team Sky when the Team Sky’s objectives was the grand tours. I just wonder if they saw Cav as plan B, the 2nd choice. But one thing Cav is not is second rate. Sky need to let him go and to do it for free, good on them.

  • Terry

    Shame, but no-one can say we didn’t see it coming, a lot of people said it was a mistake going to Sky in the first place even before he signed up with them last year- I was one of them.
    Wiggo made it clear before he (Wiggo) joined Sky that he didn’t want to be on the same team as Cav.