Mark Cavendish set to return from Ghent Six crash with season debut at Tour of Oman

Cavendish has recovered from the two broken ribs and punctured lung he suffered at the end of November to lead Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in Oman

Mark Cavendish Tour of Oman
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish will return to competitive action at the Tour of Oman for the first time since his heavy crash in the Six Days of Ghent at the end of November, where he suffered two broken ribs and a punctured lung.

The Manxman spent a painful few days in a Belgian hospital before returning home, and proved his recovery by joining a team training camp in Calpe, Spain, last month. He is approaching the 2022 season full of optimism too, with the Tour of Oman his first road race since the Münsterland Giro in October last year. 

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider is set to begin his season by leading the team in the sprint stages at the Tour of Oman, which runs from February 10-15, alongside Iljo Keisse, Stijn Steels, Fausto Masnada, Mauro Schmid, Stan Van Tricht and Ethan Vernon. 

In a statement released ahead of the race, Quick-Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck said: “The Tour of Oman is back and comes with a nice course, with many stage finishes already used at many of the previous editions. We will try to be in the mix with Mark in the bunch sprints, and if possible, do something with Fausto [Masnada] in the general classification. 

"He has just returned from a training camp and is motivated to kick off his season. Overall, we go there with a solid team, capable of getting some good results."

Cavendish has previous experience of winning at the Tour of Oman, having won a stage in 2011. Due to cancellations in the previous two years due to the pandemic, the Tour of Oman returns to the calendar for the first time since 2019. 

Three of the stages are likely to finish in bunch sprints, with Cavendish up against notable fast-men Arnaud Démare (Groupama FDJ) and Fernando Gavira (UAE Team Emirates).

Over the winter, Cavendish signed a one-year contract extension as reward for an incredible comeback season, which yielded four Tour de France stage wins to move level with Eddy Merckx for victories at the Grand Tour. He might not get the opportunity to add more Tour victories to his tally though, with his Giro d'Italia appearance already confirmed. 

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