Mark Cavendish’s classics campaigned officially ended today. Due to the lingering effects of a fever and stomach problems after Milano-Sanremo, he had to skip Ghent-Wevelgem, the Three Days of De Panne and – announced today – the Scheldeprijs.
“Mark won’t start on Wednesday in Scheldeprijs, he had a long week with this his gastroenteritis problems,” team Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s general manager, Patrick Lefevere told Cycling Weekly. “He really suffered in the week. He could only do a few [training] rides.”
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“If he starts [Scheldeprijs] with his status and palmarès he has to be a presence, a factor in the race and try to go for the win not to be just a rider in the pack.”
The 28-year-old has won Scheldeprijs three times. In 2007, it marked his first win after signing a professional contract with T-Mobile. He won again in 2008 and 2011. Last year, he stayed at home for the birth of his daughter.
This season, Cavendish had a quieter start. He won a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta ao Algarve so far this season, compared to seven wins at the same point last year.
Lefevere said that Cavendish could return to race the Tour of Turkey, April 27 to May 4. That and other stage races would prepare him for the Tour de France.
“His next race? It could be the Tour of Turkey, we are thinking about it, but it’s not confirmed,” explained Lefevere. “After Paris-Roubaix, we will sit down and look into his programme.”
Traditionally, Cavendish races the Giro d’Italia in May but this year he may skip it for the Tour of California and a lower-key approach to the Tour. It would be the first time since 2010 that he missed Italy’s Grand Tour.
“His main goal is the Tour de France,” development manager, Rolf Aldag told Cycling Weekly last week. “He loves the Giro d’Italia but did it improve his shape for the Tour de France last year? It’s difficult to say…the Tour is his goal. He does not want to spread himself all over the place at 90%. He wants to be 100% to the Tour.”