Manx cycling star Mark Cavendish’s frustration over his team's inability to secure a secondary sponsor for the next season featured in the Guardian and Observer newspapers over the weekend.
After initially expressing concerns whilst competing for the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the Manxman spoke of his frustration at dealings with HTC, to whom he is contracted for 2011 and with whom he has won 15 stages in the last three Tours de France.
He explained to the Observer that it boiled down to a lack of a new co-sponsor.
‘I love the team, I love where I am. It's the best place to do what I want to do, which is ride my bike and have fun and win, but if everything rests on you, you shouldn't have that feeling of being taken advantage of. I don't want to extort anything, I am a loyal person but I want to be paid fairly.
‘We're the most successful team on the planet and something is wrong when we don't have enough sponsors. Ninety nine per cent of people on the team, riders and staff, are not just performing, but over-performing. There are a couple of people whose job it is to get new sponsors and it's frustrating when they can't and we suffer for it. I'm just frustrated because I've been massively underpaid this year and next because for some reason we can't get more sponsors.’
In the feature, Cavendish says sportsmen who opted not to travel to the Commonwealth Games missed out on a worthwhile experience.
‘The guys who stayed away made a mistake. If you look at the chance of catching disease in India; if you look after yourself you won't catch anything. As a single guy you run a risk if you sleep with a girl. Risks come with everything.’
Having been scheduled to fly home last Monday, the Manxman opted to stay in Delhi until Friday, helping the Manx team and team-mate, Andrew Roche, as he came 12th in the time trial.
‘I didn't want to just swan about in sunglasses; I was even wiping his back after the warm-up. The thing is, I know what it's like to be looked after and these guys gave 100 per cent for me in the road race.’
Cavendish is due in London on Thursday when he’ll attend the premier of the Chasing Legends film, which followed his team during the 2009 Tour de France.