Manxman's Tour participation remains in doubt

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), who has returned to racing at the Tour de Slovénie after three months on the sidelines, remains uncertain on his Tour de France participation in July.

Cavendish started in Slovenia on Thursday, placing 10th in the sprint. It marked his first race since the Milan-San Remo on March 18 having suffered from glandular fever.

“[The] past months were not easy, it’s hard to go to bed every evening and thinking about how long it will take to get over it,” Cavendish said.

“With some people it takes months, with some ten years. You don’t know when you’ll get better and that is very hard to deal with.

“I don’t have any special goals for this race, I just want to see where I am and maybe finish it. I also can’t say much regarding Tour, I don’t know if I will go there.”

Cavendish is in a race against time to find form to race the Tour de France, starting July 1 in Düsseldorf. After stage four in Slovenia, he is scheduled to race the British National Championships on June 25, which is at home on the Isle of Man.

“I’m feeling healthy, I hope I’ll race till Sunday. I wasn’t here for a very long time when I was on this race for the first time, but the country is very beautiful and I noticed that the people are very warm.”

In 2016 Cavendish won four Tour stages and brought his tally up to 30. He lacks just four to reach 34 and match the all-time record set by cycling great Eddy Merckx.

In Slovenia, he sprinted to 10th in stage one and did not factor in the second stage sprint.

On Instagram, he wrote after stage one, “Hard to start racing again in mid-June. Tour of Slovenia is the best race for it, for sure. Today was about my physical feelings more than a result. My Team Dimension Data did an amazing job that would normally produced a win, but I couldn’t finish their work.”