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Mark Cavendish to race nationals before Tour de France

Cummings set to defend titles while Dowsett, Storey and Pidcock also confirmed as racing

Joe Robinson
15 Jun 2018

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) will complete his preparation for this summer's Tour de France by racing the British National Road Race Championships on Sunday 1st July, British Cycling confirmed. He will joined by teammate and current champion Steve Cummings in Northumberland.

Taking place six days before the start of the Tour, Cavendish will target a second national title, having sprinted to victory in 2013, while also trying to build form ahead of the three week stage race. 

This season has been one to forget so far for the 33-year-old. Consecutive crashes at Abu Dhabi Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo forced him into an extended period away before returning at the Tour de Yorkshire in May.

This has lead the sprinter to have only have one victory so dar this season, Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour back in February.

The Manxman is now currently racing at the Tour of Slovenia, which finishes this weekend, and will head to the inaugural Adriatica Ionica Race in Italy on 20th June before returning to the UK to take part in nationals in a bid to get fit for the Tour. 

He will be joined on the startline of the national road race by defending champion Steve Cummings who has also struggled this season. The veteran rider pulled was unable to finish the recent Criterium du Dauphine and also withdrew from the Tour of Romandie in April due to allergy problems.

A flat 30km before the finish line of the men's elite road race means that the parcour certainly favours Cavendish over Cummings but it is likely the latter will be active during the race as he fights to earn a spot in the Dimension Data tour team.

Cavendish has been national champion once before, taking the title in 2013, while also finishing in second place in both 2015 and 2016 behind Peter Kennaugh and Adam Blythe respectively.

The course for the elite men's road race covers 185km with various laps of two circuits of 22km and 35.4km in length. The peloton's last test will be the climb of Ryal but this falls 30km from the finish.

Joining the Dimension Data duo in Northumberland will be Dame Sarah Storey and Katie Archibald as well as young Team Wiggins rider Tom Pidcock.

Alex Dowsett will also head to nationals in a bid to regain his national time trial champion, which was won in 2017 by Cummings. If Dowsett manages to take the title it will be his sixth victory in eight years.

Live coverage of the men's road race will be shown on ITV however the women's race will only be covered in a highlights show.