The British Dimension Data sprinter fell heavily during the opening stage of Tirreno, and suffered numerous abrasions and a fractured rib. Although he managed to finish the stage on his road bike, he was outside the time limit.
His Tirreno crash was on the back of concussion sustained after a crash on the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, which also saw him withdraw from that race.
The 32-year-old Manxman returned to training earlier this week and joined team-mates on Wednesday in Italy. Although he’ll be on the start-line for Milan-San Remo, he is under no illusion that he will be able to repeat his 2009 feat of winning the prestigious race.
“After crashing in Tirreno I’m obviously not in any sort of condition to win Milan-San Remo but having been able to train enough through the pain over the last few days I feel like I can go in support of my teammates,” said Cavendish.
“Milan-San Remo is a race close to my heart and it’s a particular style of race that reminding my body of the rhythm of it this year, will help me to compete for the win in future years.”
Cavendish will be joined in Milan-San Remo by Mark Renshaw. The Australian abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico after suffering from a sinus infection.
Cavendish and Renshaw will be joined by a strong line-up at Dimension Data, that comprises British road and time trial national champion Steve Cummings, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Scott Thwaites, Julien Vermote and Jay Thomson.
The team said in a statement on Thursday that Tom-Jelte Slagter was not selected for the team as he is suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection and Bernhard Eisel is still recovering from injuries sustained in a crash during Tirreno-Adriatico.
Dimension Data sport director Roger Hammond commented: “As a team we’re really excited ahead of one of the sport’s iconic races. It’s great to have Mark (Cavendish) return to an event that’s obviously very special to him. He’s had a run of bad luck, crashing in both Abu Dhabi and Tirreno-Adriatico, but despite fracturing a rib, and weather permitting, has managed to train.
“It’s not been an easy selection process having both Bernie Eisel and Tom-Jelte Slagter unavailable but for now it looks like the weather could play a big part on the day and we look forward to taking opportunities that present themselves for a good result.”
The provisional start list for Milan-San Remo was released on Wednesday.
Defending champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) lining up against Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors).