Mark Cavendish will skip the Arctic Race of Norway as he continues to recover from a problem as-yet-unknown.
Last week, organiser ASO named Cavendish as a star rider in the four-day race, which starts on Thursday.
Since returning from the Tour de France, where he completed 11 stages before being eliminated for missing the time cut, Cavendish has raced the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic, placing 12th, before withdrawing from the European Championships.
“Mark Cavendish will not be participating as he continues his recovery that saw him advised to miss out on the recent European Championships in Glasgow,” Team Dimension Data said overnight. “An update on Mark’s return to racing will be given in due course.”
Ahead of the race in Glasgow, Cavendish admitted it had been “challenging few months.” He referred to three early season crashes and the subsequent race to recover to be in form for the Tour de France in July.
“Given what’s been a challenging few months in terms of aiming to sufficiently recover from some unfortunate injuries in time to compete, I’ve been advised at this stage the best thing is for me to withdraw from [the European Championships].”
Cavendish crashed three times this spring leading to the Tour. The Abu Dhabi Tour incident left him with a concussion and whiplash. In Tirreno-Adriatico, he suffered facial cuts and sore ribs. And the Milan-San Remo crash resulted in another broken rib and an ankle injury.
He repeated in the Tour that his “back is against the wall” with the lead-up and like many sprinters, was forced out in the Alpine stages of the French race.
Without the Arctic Race of Norway, Cavendish’s schedule remains unknown, though it has been suggested that he will race the Deutschland Tour starting on August 23.
Bernhard Eisel will replace Cavendish in the race starting from Vadsø tomorrow. The Austrian is returning from successful brain surgery to relieve a haematoma after crashing in the Tirreno-Adriatico this March.
The roster for Norway also includes Connor Swift, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Kent Main and Mekseb Debesay.
Team Dimension Data will send a squad to the Tour of Britain, which kicks off on September 2 – and it’s unclear if Cavendish will be making a return to the eight day race.