Former world champion Mark Cavendish has announced that he will leave Team Sky for Belgian outfit Omega Pharma-Quickstep after just one year with the Tour de France winning team.
It's been an incredibly fun year riding with friends I've grown up with but I'm super excited about riding with old friends and team-mates in one of the most successful and established teams in cycling.
The 27 year old, who has won 23 stages on the Tour de France and was the 2011 world road race champion, expressed a desire to move on 12 months into a three-year contract, believing Sky's ambitions and his own no longer matched.
"After a year of being part of the successes at Team Sky I've decided to leave to join Omega Pharma-Quick-Step to pursue different goals," said Cavendish.
"It's been an incredibly fun year riding with friends I've grown up with but I'm super excited about riding with old friends and team-mates in one of the most successful and established teams in cycling.
"I believe in the team's project and I'm thrilled to be a part of it".
Sky team principal Dave Brailsford praised Cavendish for his contribution to the squad.
"Mark has been a true champion for Team Sky this year. It's been an honour having the rainbow jersey in this team and great to work so closely with a rider I've known since he was a junior," said Brailsford.
"He has been a real team player, making history in a Tour de France winning team," he added in reference to Bradley Wiggins becoming the first Englishman to win the world's greatest bike race.
"Cav won 15 races with us, including his first stage race, three Tour stages, and the fourth win in his unbeaten run on the Champs Elysees.
"The sight of him winning in Paris, with the yellow jersey leading out the world champion -- both in Team Sky kit -- is something you'll never forget."
Cavendish's previous team HTC-Columbia built their ambitions around the rider, who has also won 10 stages on the Giro d'Italia.
But with Wiggins stealing the spotlight and the emergence of runner-up Chris Froome, he moves to the Belgian team where he will link up with another world champion, Tom Boonen.
Ironically Cavendish and Wiggins teamed up to win the 2008 world title in the madison event and also rode along side each other for Great Britain at the London Olympics.
The 2011 Tour de France green jersey winner was preparing for a second season with Sky after protracted talks over an early termination broke down, but now the Isle of Man native will get his wish to move on.
"Mark is one of the most outstanding riders in cycling, a true star recognised internationally for his unique style and irrefutable athletic skills," said Omega Pharma team owner Zdenek Bakala.
"His extraordinary sprints have become a cycling 'must-see' that can fire up crowds the world over. In addition to raising the technical bar for the team, his arrival will broaden our international profile and team image".