Mark Cavendish has confirmed that he will not defend his British national men’s road race title on Sunday in Monmouthshire after suffering from bronchitis.
Cavendish’s team, Omega Phrama-Quick-Step, released a statement late on Wednesday evening to confirm the current champion would not be riding in order to be fully prepared for the start of the Tour de France on July 5.
Cavendish reportedly contracted the illness towards the end of the Tour de Suisse earlier this month and will return to training in Italy from now until the Grand Depart in Yorkshire.
In a statement the former world champion said: “I’m sad because, as current champion, I would really like to defend the title.
“I would have liked to honor the race and this jersey that I wore for all of 2014 so far, which allowed me to represent my country proudly. I think it’s wiser, however, to not take any risks and focus on absolute, 100 percent recovery, and continue to train in function of the Tour de France.
“I talked with the race organizers and they understood my situation perfectly. I wish them well, and also wish good luck to all riders at the race on Sunday trying to fight for this jersey I’ve been so proud to wear.”
The championships kick-off on Thursday with the men’s and women’s time trial competitions, while the likes of Bradley Wiggins, Peter Kennaugh, as well as Adam and Simon Yates will all take to the start line of the 186km road race course on Sunday, with a new champion now guaranteed.