Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) abandoned the 2011 Vuelta a Espana during the race’s first mountains stage to Sierra Nevada on Tuesday.

Cavendish had been one of a number of riders that had suffered in the severe heat during Monday’s stage three, dropping back with a group of 30 that finished 12 minutes and 50 seconds behind stage winner Pablo Lastras (Movistar).

Cavendish had been hoping to use the Vuelta as preparation for his bid on the road race World Championship title later in September.

Cavendish’s HTC-Highroad room-mate Matt Goss was the first rider to abandon the 2011 Vuelta on Sunday after suffering from a stomach complaint.

No official explanation has so far been given for Cavendish’s withdrawal.

Cavendish has already completed the Giro d’Italia in May and Tour de France in July, in which he won five stages and the points classification overall.

More later

Related links

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Latest news
Matt Goss first rider to abandon Vuelta
Team Sky’s TTT horror on troublesome course
Dan Martin confident and collected as Vuelta team leader
Pro predictions: Who will win the Vuelta?
HTC-Highroad’s reservations about TTT course
Vuelta team time trial start order
Sky plans early start for Vuelta team time trial recon
Wiggins looking to minimise losses in testing Vuelta TTT
Riders voice support for Hushovd over Vuelta exclusion
Cancellara late to Vuelta after being hospitalised by bee sting
Nibali back for victory again in 2011 Vuelta
Wiggins: “I’m in a great position going into the Vuelta”
Wiggins confirmed as Sky leader for the Vuelta
Freire: It’ll be tough in the Vuelta with Cavendish
Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Dan Martin to lead Garmin-Cervelo
Cavendish and Wiggins on provisional Vuelta start list
Climbers set to dominate in 2011 Vuelta
Millar on 2011 Vuelta: ‘Modern-looking and very challenging”
2011 Vuelta set to return to Angliru and Basque country
Angliru back in 2011 Tour of Spain
Hushovd left out of Vuelta; Martin to lead Garmin-Cervélo

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Teams, riders, start list
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Who’s riding?
Vuelta a Espana 2011 team list

Vuelta a Espana 2011
: Stage reports

Stage three: Lastras solos to stage and takes red jersey

Stage two: Sutton grabs stage win to set things right for Sky

Stage one: Leopard-Trek win opening TTT to put Fuglsang in front

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Photo galleries
By Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery

Vuelta a Espana 2011: TV guide

Vuelta a Espana 2011: ITV4 TV schedule

Vuelta a Espana 2011: British Eurosport TV schedule

ITV to show 2011 Vuelta