Thursday, January 27

Mark Cavendish returns to the Tour de France for the first time since 2018 | Mark cavendish


Mark Cavendish will return to the Tour de France for the first time since 2018 this summer as he continues his resurgence.

The 36-year-old was included in the Deceuninck-QuickStep eight-man squad for the race that begins Saturday, as an injury ruled out fellow sprinter Sam Bennett, leaving the Irishman unable to defend the green jersey he won the year. past. It means Cavendish, whose 30 stage wins on the Tour are second only to Eddy Merckx’s 34, has a chance to return to the race in which he proved to be the best sprinter of his generation.

“I am delighted to be back in the Tour de France with Deceuninck-QuickStep,” said Cavendish. “Obviously, the circumstances with Sam could be better, he had a special Tour last year and I’m sad that I can’t defend his green jersey. But at the same time, I’m excited to get back to a career that I have such an affinity for and in which I have so much history. It is the largest cycling race in the world and I will do my best to seize this opportunity with both hands. “

Cavendish claimed the last of his Tour victories in 2016, when he won four stages and donned the yellow jersey after the opening stage before dropping out of the race early to head to the Rio Olympics. He was forced out of the 2017 edition when he crashed with Peter Sagan on stage four at the beginning of a period in which Manxman suffered injuries and illnesses, and suffered from the Epstein-Barr virus.

Cavendish was controversially left out of the Team Dimension Data squad for the 2019 Tour, causing a breakdown in relations with the team, then missing the cut with Bahrain-McLaren last year due to the calendar disruption in the middle of the pandemic hampered its form. But fearing his career will come to an end in the winter, Cavendish has regained form after rejoining Deceuninck-QuickStep, winning four stages of the Tour of Turkey in April and the final stage of the Tour of Belgium this month.

Cavendish had raced in Belgium as a result of Bennett’s injuries, which have turned out worse than previously thought. The Irishman provided one of the best stories on the 2020 Tour, winning two stages, his first in the race, before surprisingly beating Sagan to green to end the Slovak’s long streak of dominance in the points standings.

“It goes without saying that I am very disappointed not to be able to defend my green jersey at this year’s Tour de France,” said Bennett, who seems ready to leave the team at the end of the season. “I had a very minor incident during training a couple of weeks ago, which affected my knee. Although the injury I suffered is very short-term, it affected my training for the world’s largest cycling race too much and left me without enough time to be fit for the race. “

Deceuninck-QuickStep has not won fewer than three stages of a Tour since 2016, and will once again lead a powerful team on the run, led by world champion Julian Alaphilippe and Tour of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen.


www.theguardian.com

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