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Mark Cavendish left out of Tour de France by Dimension Data

Joe Robinson
2 Jul 2019

Manxman overlooked by team dedicated to hunting stage wins

Mark Cavendish will miss the 2019 Tour de France after being left out of the Dimension Data squad. The African-registered WorldTour team announced their team to tackle the French Grand Tour on Monday morning, opting to back Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo and Norwegian all-rounder Edvald Boasson Hagen over Cavendish.

Cavendish had been hoping to earn selection for the race, having run a reduced race schedule in order to be in shape for the Tour, which starts on Saturday 6th July in Brussels.

Last year, the 34-year-old was forced to abandon the race after missing the time cut of Stage 11 to La Rosiere.

The Manxman was then diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr syndrome, which forced him to take an extended break during the latter half of the 2018 season before returning to racing in January of this year at the Vuelta a San Juan.

With the Tour as his main goal, Cavendish cherry-picked a smaller race schedule throughout the opening months of the year, skipping races such as Milan-San Remo and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Unfortunately, the results have yet to come, with his best showing being third on Stage 3 of the Tour of Turkey.

Cavendish then rode the Tour of Slovenia as final preparation, failing to figure in any of the race's bunch sprints before finishing an anonymous 22nd at the national road race last Sunday.

This will certainly put another nail into Cavendish's coffin in terms of hunting down Eddy Merckx's Tour stage record. He currently sits four stages short of the legendary Belgian's record of 34 wins.

The disappointment for Brits at Cavendish's omission is slightly soothed by the inclusion of veteran stage hunter Steve Cummings, who did make the selection.

Cummings spoke of his delight at being on the Tour de France team, stating, 'I was pleasantly surprised about the Tour selection, I wasn’t expecting that. I’m very grateful to the team again for the opportunity to go to the Tour and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

'I think it’s a pretty open Tour, there are a lot of chances to be aggressive and I think it suits the team that we have very well and I hope that we can have a great July and everyone can be proud of us.'

Roman Kreuziger, who has finished in the top 10 at the Tour on four occasions, will lead the team in the mountains, while Michael Valgren and Ben King will offer plenty of ability in breakaways.

Finishing off the Dimension Data team are experienced road captain Lars Bak and South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg.

This means that South African climber Louis Meintjes is also left out of the team in another poor year for home talent.

Another concern is that this will also be the third consecutive Tour de France in which Dimension Data has failed to pick a black African rider. Originally, the team's mission statement was to win the Tour by 2020 with an African rider.