Mark Cavendish set to return to racing this week in Tour of Turkey

Cavendish is looking to get his season back on track after withdrawing from Paris-Nice last month

Mark Cavendish at the 2019 UAE Tour. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish is set to return to racing this week in the Tour of Turkey, after abandoning Paris-Nice whilst working towards full fitness after suffering illness last year.

The Manxman will ride as part of the Dimension Data squad accompanied by his lead-out man Mark Renshaw and fellow Brit Scott Davies.

Last month Cavendish abandoned Paris-Nice during stage two, with his team citing a "challenging two days" and a need to "work his way back towards full fitness". This was as the rider continued his recovery from the Eppstein-Bar virus, which he was diagnosed with in 2017 and forced him to stop racing and training after the 2018 Tour de France.

The 33-year-old also missed Milan-San Remo, a race he won in 2009, as well as Schelderprijs, which he was down to race. Cavendish is currently set to take the start line in Brussels for the 2019 Tour de France, as he looks to add to his 30 stage wins.

So far this season, Cavendish has raced the Vuelta a San Juan and the UAE Tour, with the former world champion making it clear in the UAE that he would try to compete in sprints at the Middle Eastern race but that he was primarily there to perform team duties as they targeted GC ambitions.

Cavendish has only managed one individual top-10 finish so far in 2019, with an eighth place finish in stage one of the Vuelta a San Juan, as well as coming 10th in the team time trial of the UAE Tour.

The Tour of Turkey runs from April 16 - April 21, featuring a fairly flat parcours with one HC-category summit finish on the penultimate stage. Aside from that, there will be many opportunities for bunch sprints.

Four other WorldTour teams will join Dimension Data on the start line: Astana, Bora-Hansgrohe, Lotto-Soudal and Deceuninck – Quick-Step. The other strong sprinters likely to challenge Cavendish for stage wins include Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrouhe), Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Fabio Jakobsen and Álvaro Hodeg (both Deceuninck – Quick-Step).

Spaniard Eduard Prades (Movistar) won the 2018 edition of the race, with Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) finishing second on the same time.