Former champion will target the road race in Northumberland

Mark Cavendish has confirmed that he will take to the start line of the British Road National Championships in Northumberland, taking part in the road race in what will be his final race before the Tour de France.

This will be the sixth consecutive year that Cavendish has competed in the National Championships, having taken victory in 2013, notching up two second places in 2015 and 2016, and battling back from illness to compete on home roads on the Isle of Man 12 months ago.

Cavendish, who is currently racing at the Tour of Slovenia, will only take part in the road race in this year’s Championships, which take place over a hilly parcours close to the village of Stamfordham. Bradley Wiggins and Lizzie Armitstead took victory the last time the road race was held over this course in 2011.

The road race will take place on July 1, a week before the Tour de France gets underway in Noirmoitier en l’Île on the west coast of France on July 7.

A full start list has yet to be announced for the event, but Steve Cummings, Cavendish’s Dimension Data team-mate, will return to defend both the time trial and road titles that he won last year.

Unlike last year, the men’s race will also be broadcast live on ITV, although there will only be highlights of the women’s road race.

After using the Tour of Slovenia as his final stage race preparation for the Tour de France, the National Championships will be the final chance for Cavendish to hone his form before heading off the France, where he will be hoping to add to his current tally of 30 Tour stage wins, and move closer to Eddy Merckx’s overall record of 34 Tour stage wins.

The Manxman will also be hoping for better luck than last year, when he was forced to abandon after stage four following a crash with world champion Peter Sagan in the final metres of the stage to Vittel.