Tour de Slovénie is Cavendish's first race since March

Mark Cavendish returns to racing for the first time since Milan-San Remo, taking to the start line of the Tour de Slovénie on Thursday.

The Dimension Data rider has been suffering from glandular fever since April, and has not raced since finishing 101st in Milan-San Remo on March 18.

His illness has caused significant disruption to the Manxman’s Tour de France preparation, with his team unwilling to put a date on his return or confirm whether he would be ready for the Tour.

However, Cavendish has since confirmed as a starter for the road race British National Championships, which takes place on June 25 on the Isle of Man.

Cavendish rode the Tour de Slovénie in 2016, but finished 99th on stage one before abandoning on stage two. He might be hoping for better luck this year as he tries to hone his form ahead of a Tour de France where he will try and add to his current tally of 30 stage wins.