Mark Cavendish will not start the Scheldeprijs semi-Classic race in Belgium on Wednesday or Sunday's Paris-Roubaix due to injury. The three-time winner of the Scheldeprijs was not named in Dimension Data's squad on Wednesday morning.
Cavendish last raced in Milan-San Remo in Italy on March 18 and was due to take part in the UCI 1.HC-ranked event. However, just prior to the race his team said he would be absent due to an injury in his right ankle, which started during Tirreno-Adriatico prior to Milan-San Remo.
"Mark sustained an overuse injury of his right ankle while competing at the Tirreno-Adriatico race," said Dimension Data team doctor Dr Jarrad Van Zuydam in a statement.
"The injury was thought to be resolving but has unfortunately flared up again during training. Further investigation and treatment is necessary over the coming days to resolve the injury before Mark returns to racing. We are hopeful of a speedy recovery, though it would be premature to set a date for his return to racing at this stage.
The 31-year-old Manxman also sat out Ghent-Wevelgem at the end of March. Team performance manager Rolf Aldag told Cycling Weekly at the time that “the classics don’t make you faster. You’ve seen André Greipel doing them, he’s good at them, but you pay the price. It takes a lot of energy out of your body.”
The Scheldeprijs is traditionally a race that has favoured sprinters, with a flat and fast 200.5-kilometre route that includes a smattering of cobbled sectors.
Cavendish won the race in 2007, 2008 and 2011. German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) has won four of the past five editions, and goes into the 2017 race as defending champion.
Cavendish is aiming to hit peak condition for this year's Tour de France (July 1-23), where he could equal or surpass Eddy Merckx's record for the number of stage wins. Cavendish won four stages of the 2016 Tour de France bringing his career total to 30 stage wins. Merckx has 34.
The races that Cavendish will take part in leading up to the Tour have yet to be confirmed. Last year, Cavendish raced in Paris-Roubaix where he finished a respectable 30th, but his injury has now ruled him out for this year.
Dimension Data's team for Scheldeprijs was named as Scott Thwaites, Youcef Reguigui, Jay Thomson, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Ryan Gibbons, Mark Renshaw, Bernhard Eisel and 2010 winner Tyler Farrar.
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