Mark Cavendish reveals his final stage race preparation ahead of Tour de France

Manx sprinter named in Dimension Data's squad for Tour of Slovenia

Mark Cavendish wins stage three of the 2018 Dubai Tour
(Image credit: LaPresse - Ferrari / Paolone)

Mark Cavendish has been named in Dimension Data's six-man team for the Tour of Slovenia, which will be his final stage race before the Tour de France gets underway in July.

This will be the third time that Cavendish has raced the Tour of Slovenia, which includes five stages, at least three of which should come down to bunch sprints. In 2016 Cavendish abandoned with illness during stage two, while last year he finished the race with second place on stage four being his best result.

Alongside the Manx sprinter in the Dimension Data team will be Mark Renshaw, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Natnael Berhane, Jaco Venter, and Johann van Zyl, with sports director Roger Hammond explaining that the team will be using the race as a dress rehearsal for the bunch sprints of the Tour.

"It’s great to be in Slovenia again, it’s a beautiful part of the world to race bikes," Hammond said. "The Tour of Slovenia is obviously a key race for us as it is part of Mark’s build up to the Tour. So essentially, that is what we will be doing in Slovenia, building towards the Tour by going through our race processes and finding that rhythm."

However Cavendish and Dimension Data will face a tough sprinting field in Slovenia with many other sprinters' teams using the race as preparation due to the mountains parcours of the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse.

That means that Cavendish will have to face the likes of Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin), Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott), and Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo).

The race gets underway in Lendava on June 13, with two flat stages that should see the sprinters battle it out.

The Tour de France starts in Noirmoutier-en-l'Île on July 7, with two flat stages that will give the sprinters the chance to battle it out for the yellow jersey.

With 30 career Tour stage wins under his belt, Cavendish will be hoping for better luck than last year when he was forced to abandon the race following a crash on stage four, and to close in on the record of 34 stage wins held by Eddy Merckx.