Mark Cavendish stage 12 tour de france 2008

Team Columbia have just confirmed that Mark Cavendish will not be on the Tour of Britain start line in London on September seventh.

The British sprinter, who won four stages of this year?s Tour de France, was a major draw for the British race, but will now be riding the Tour of Missouri instead.

?Cav?s definitely not riding because he?s got to ride Missouri,? Columbia Director Sportif Allan Pieper told Cycling Weekly. ?It?s an important race for our sponsor. The race is on at the same time, so he?s got to ride in the US.?

With a predominantly flat route, the seven-stage race in America?s mid-west should see Cavendish grab a couple of wins to add to his season?s ever growing tally and help promote the team on home soil. After a month spent focusing on the track, Cavendish is already back in to winning ways on the road, winning the opening stage of the Tour of Ireland yesterday.

Pieper also confirmed that the team want the Tour of Missouri to be the Manxman?s last race of the year, ?He?s had a long season and we don?t want him to race too much, so he can comeback strong next year,? said Pieper. This is yet to be confirmed by British Cycling who were planning to build their world championships road race team around Cavendish in a long build up to the 2012 Olympic road race.

Cavendish has been replaced in the Comlubia team by Kim Kirchen who finished eighth in this year?s Tour. Double Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins is in Columbia?s starting line-up as is Roger Hammond. In an interview with Cycling Weekly, to appear in next weeks magazine, Wiggins has warned his fans that he?s not in top shape after so long focusing on track preparations, but has promised to get stuck in.

Roger Hammond, who has twice won stages in this race, should be on good form after a strong showing at the recent ENECO tour.

The full Team Columbia line-up is: Kim Kirchen, Edvald Boason Hagen, Roger Hammond, Greg Henderson, Vincente Reynes, Bradley Wiggins.

The Tour of Britain starts on September 7 in London and finishes in Liverpool on September 14.


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