Mark Cavendish will race on in 2021 after agreeing a deal to return to Sam Bennett's Deceuninck-QuickStep.

The Manxman, 35, faced an uncertain future in a difficult contract market this winter and had openly contemplated that his career could be coming to an end this year.

But that was never his desire and he has now secured a reunion with the team where he scored 44 victories between 2013 and 2015, when he held the position of the team's lead sprinter - a role now held by Tour de France green jersey winner Bennett.

"I can't explain how delighted I am to be joining Deceuninck-Quick-Step," Cavendish said.

"I have never hidden my affection for my time with the team and to me this genuinely feels like I am coming home," he added.

"As well as the incredible group of riders, I can't wait to start working again with the staff, most of which were here during my first spell and were part of one of the most successful periods of my career, an era that I am immensely proud of.

"Even with an extremely difficult and disrupted season this year, they have shown how strong and unified they are and I am hoping to add to even more. I can't wait to be back in the Wolfpack."

Cavendish spent 2020 with Team Bahrain-McLaren but struggled to make a major impact as the pandemic ripped the season schedule apart.

Despite contract talks, he was left off the team's list of renewals last month, and earlier this week his long-time coach Rod Ellingworth stepped down as team principal.

As speculation had continued over his future, Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere wrote a newspaper column in which he said of potentially re-signing Cavendish: "My heart says yes but my mind says no".

But after Saturday's announcement, Lefevere said: "We are happy to have him return to our family, as he is a leader and brings across a wealth of experience that he can share with our young riders, but at the same time we are confident he still has something to give to the team."