Mark Cavendish targeting first win in 17 months at Tour of Poland

The sprinter will target the first three flat stages after abandoning the recent Adriatica Ionica on stage one

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish will lead Dimension Data at the upcoming Tour of Poland, which rolls out of Krakow on Saturday August 3.

The 34-year-old has recently returned to racing after beating the Epstein Barr virus that had plagued him for the last couple of years.

>>> Rumours of Mark Cavendish move to Bahrain-Merida resurface

However, Cavendish is still looking for his first win in 17 months, his best result of the 2019 season so far being a third place finish in a stage of the Tour of Turkey in April.

His most recent race was the Adriatica Ionica, which took place in Italy at the end of July, where the Manxman suffered a mechanical and finished nine minutes down on Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) who won the bunch sprint on stage one. He then abandoned the race on stage two. 

Cavendish will be looking to compete in the first three flat stages at the Tour of Poland, with Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) also set to contest the bunch sprints.

The former world champion will be supported by Bernie Eisel and Jaco Venter, with Enrico Gasparotto, Stefan De Bod, Gino Mader and Ben O’Connor completing Dimension Data’s seven-man squad.

Cavendish was left out of the South African team’s Tour de France squad this year, with the sprinter four wins off Eddy Merckx’s record 34 Tour stage victories and team management at odds over how the decision was made.

Performance manager Rolf Aldag said general manager Doug Ryder overruled him on the decision over Cavendish’s inclusion. “There’s no secret about it. I wanted to have him here and I think he would have suited our strategy but ultimately it was a team owner decision,” Aldag said at the time.

“It’s within my responsibility to select a team and I called eight names and Mark was included. The team owner has the right to overrule me, which he did.”

However, Cavendish has said he is ‘not thinking of Merckx’s record’ and just wants to win one more time, according to his former team boss Erik Zabel.

With the Tour omission and Cavendish’s former coach Rod Ellingworth set to take over Bahrain-Merida later this year, rumours of the sprinter moving to the team have resurfaced, with the Manxman out of contract at Dimension Data at the end of the year.

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