Mark Cavendish to race Tour of Slovenia in preparation for Tour de France 2019

The Manxman has used the race as preparation for the Tour every year since 2016 but has never won a stage in Slovenia

Mark Cavendish at the Tour of California 2019 (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) will race the Tour of Slovenia as he prepares for his 13th Tour de France.

The Manxman currently has the second-most stage wins of any rider, with 30 victories, and trails record-holder Eddy Merckx by only four, with Cavendish certainly looking to get closer to this number again at the 2019 edition of the race.

>>> Experts study Tour de France to pinpoint limit of human endurance

Cavendish has used the Tour of Slovenia, a five day stage race running from June 19 to June 23, to warm-up for the Tour de France, and has done so every year since 2016. Surprisingly, however, he has never won a stage of the race, coming closest in 2017 when he finished second on the final stage to Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Dimension Data will take two sprinters to the race, with Giacomo Nizzolo also being included in the squad. Cavendish's lead-out men Mark Renshaw and Bernie Eisel will also be in attendance, with Lars Ytting Bak, Jay Robert Thomson and Jacques Janse Van Rensburg rounding out the squad.

Mark Cavendish recently announced he had, at least for now, beaten the Epstein-Barr virus that has held him back for the past two years.

The 34-year-old revealed at a press conference during the Tour of California that a blood test showed he was below threshold for being sick with Epstein-Barr, with Cavendish saying that he will now "be able to go and challenge for some race wins".

"Normally I would have had a lot of racing by now," the Manxman continued. "But the last couple of years I haven’t done much early in the year because I’ve been sick, but now I’m finally healthy again and I feel human after a couple of years.

"My last blood test a couple of weeks ago was the first time for two years that I’ve been under the threshold for being sick, and so it’s a massive relief and hopefully I can get back to doing good things. I’m actually able to build on my form now."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.