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Mark Cavendish confirmed for the Tour de France

Joseph Delves
26 Jun 2017

Following an illness blighted start to the season, Mark Cavendish gambles on being back in form for the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish is set to ride the Tour de France after Dimension Data announced their nine man team. Joining Cavendish will be newly crowned double-National Champion Steve Cummings and fellow Brit Scott Thwaites.

Cavendish's participation in the largest race of the year was in doubt following a season that had appeared scuppered after he contracted Epstein-Barr virus.

Commonly known as glandular fever, the Manxman was initially thought to have been suffering from training related fatigue, before a diagnosis confirmed the disease.

His illness ruled him out of the entire Spring Classics season.

Despite only returning to racing within the last month, his South African team will be hoping he can build on the recent form he showed at the Tour of Slovenia.

While somewhat off the pace at the four day stage race he still managed a second place finish on the final stage, giving hope that he can improve enough to be competitive in France.

This Sunday Cavendish started the National Championship road race, which took place close to his home on the Isle of Man. However he failed to finish within the time limit, probably mindful of the need to guard his health.

Instead the rider, who already counts 30 Tour de France stage wins to his name, was pulled out from the race with 14km remaining, as officials cleared the final circuit of riders.

Making it almost to the conclusion of the hard fought race suggests he’s in better health than had been feared.

At the conclusion of the event his teammate Steve Cummings took the win, adding it to the time trial title he had secured days earlier.

Should Cavendish make it to the Tour in decent shape he will at least have excellent support from his clearly in-form colleague.

With a continuous decade of Tour de France appearances behind him, Cavendish has been a prolific stage winner at the race. This year the 32-year-old rider will be looking to add to his tally of stage wins, with an eye on passing Eddy Merckx's record haul of 34.

Tour de France 2017: Dimension Data line-up

Mark Cavendish (GBr)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)
Jaco Venter (RSA)
Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA)
Stephen Cummings (GBr)
Mark Renshaw (Aus)
Scott Thwaites (GBr)
Bernhard Eisel (Aut)
Serge Pauwels (Bel)