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Jérôme Pineau: Signing Mark Cavendish is 50-50 right now

Veteran sprinter is still on the market and talking to Paris Cycling Club for 2023.

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Mark Cavendish is still a free agent for the 2023 season but Jérôme Pineau has told the French press that it’s 50-50 on whether the veteran British sprinter joins Paris Cycling Club for 2023.

Cavendish is out of contract at the end of this season after Quick-Step’s Patrick Lefevere confirmed that the sprinter was surplus to requirements for next season. Cavendish has been linked to a number of teams with approaches made to EF Education-EasyPost, Trek-Segafredo, and Ineos Grenadiers on the rider’s behalf.

Earlier this year Cavendish linked up with SEG — the Dutch rider agency that also represents the likes of Fabio Jakobsen and Bauke Mollema. SEG has already placed several riders on Jérôme Pineau’s French team for 2023.

VeloNews understand that Cavendish personally approached Ineos about a possible return to the team but that they declined to move the discussions forward. Trek-Segafredo is almost full for next year, while EF’s stance on the possible move has cooled since the Tour de France.

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Paris Cycling Club, currently racing as B&B Hotels-KTM, has confirmed extra investment for next season and Cavendish has been on the team’s radar all summer. The French squad has already recruited five riders from the WorldTour, including Cees Bol and Ramon Sinkeldam. Nick Shultz is also set to be announced in the coming weeks with the team confirming to VeloNews that plans will be made public from September 15 onwards.

Cavendish is looking for a team that can guarantee him a spot at the Tour de France in 2023 as he looks to edge ahead of Eddy Merckx for the number of Tour France stage wins. Both riders are currently tied on 34 wins each with Merckx unlikely to extend his record anytime soon.

Speaking to Le Telegramme,  Jérôme Pineau confirmed that his roster currently stands at 26 riders for next season.

“That includes the contract extensions, which will be announced shortly. And if we get the chance, we aim for 28 riders. At the moment I have also attracted five riders from the WorldTour,” he said.

“These five strengthen us in all areas. We also look around. I was almost done with Michael Matthews, but in the end, he preferred to stay with BikeExchange-Jayco.”

“We are talking,” Pineau said when asked about the possibility of signing Cavendish.

“But he’s not one of the five who have already signed. I’d really like Cavendish to come to us, but it’s complicated. It looks like negotiations around a football player. He would like to come to us, but he also does not want to come on retreat to us. If he comes, it will be to win. Let’s say the odds are now 50-50.”

It’s understood that BMC will provide bikes for the French team in 2023, although no confirmation on that front has been provided as yet. Cavendish, though, would represent a major signing for the second-tier team.

The arrival of both Bol and Sinkeldam provide added cover in the sprints and leadouts, while Cavendish is likely to want one or two more riders to help him aim for the out-and-out stage record in next year’s Tour de France. With no real GC candidate to speak of, Paris Cycling Club could be the sprinter’s best option in the current market.

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