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Mark Cavendish's woes continue as he withdraws from Arctic Race of Norway

Joe Robinson
15 Aug 2018

Unknown problem keeps Manxman off of bike for longer than expected

Mark Cavendish's difficult 2018 season shows no sign of improving as the Dimension Data sprinter was been withdrawn from the team's lineup for the Arctic Race of Norway, which starts tomorrow in Vadso.

Race organiser ASO had named the Manxman as one of its confirmed participants last week, but Cavendish's name was absent from the team's final lineup for the four-stage race, has place having been taken instead by Bernie Eisel.

In a press release, the team stated, 'Mark Cavendish will not be participating as he continues his recovery that saw him advised to miss out on the recent European Championships in Glasgow. An update on Mark’s return to racing will be given in due course.'

The 33-year-old has struggled with illness and form since being eliminated on Stage 11 of the Tour de France for missing the time cut. Cavendish raced the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic at the end of July, finishing 12th, but hasn't raced since, and pulled out of competing in last weekend's European Championships in Glasgow.

The 30-time Tour stage winner was expected to return to racing in Norway this week but it appears he needs more time to recover from this unknown problem.

Cavendish's plans to add to those 30 Tour stage wins this year took a major hit after three consecutive crashes in the early part of the season. A crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour in February left him with concussion and whiplash. Then, on his return to racing at Tirreno-Adriatico in March, he crashed again sustaining facial abrasions before then being involved in a big crash at Milan-San Remo which left him with broken ribs and an ankle injury.

As a result, Cavendish entered the Tour with very little racing in his legs, and after featuring only fleetingly during the sprint-heavy opening phase of the race, he was ejected for missing the time cut on Stage 11 to La Rosiere.

When the sprinter will return to racing is now unknown. It is likely he will line up at next month's Tour of Britain with the option of taking part in the Deutschland Tour later this month if his recovery goes well.

Although Cavendish will be missing from the Dimension Data line-up this week, stagiaire signing Connor Swift will be present. The current British road race champion has joined the South African WorldTour team on a temporary contract until the end of the season and will make his debut for them tomorrow.