Sprinter Mark Cavendish has sad his first race back from injury has shown him his form is a little behind where he thought it would be.
“It has been a shock to the system, having had so little racing this year,” said the Manxman after arriving at the finish of stage three of the Tour de Yorkshire in Scarborough more than eight minutes behind winner Max Walsheid (Sunweb).
“I thought I’d be a bit better than I am,” he said. “I’m a bit skinny, I’ve been training but I’m just missing that top end.”
The Dimension Data captain last finished a race at the Tour of Oman in February and has since crashed out of the Abu Dhabi Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. He started the Tour de Yorkshire hopeful of bagging a stage win on either of the first or third stages that, on paper, appeared to suit a bunch sprint.
However, on the first he was denied the opportunity because the breakaway stayed away to contest the win and on the third he found himself distanced from the peloton on the Cote de Sipho around 50km from the finish when BMC upped the pace.
“We knew they were going to do it, we’d talked about it,” he said referring to BMC’s pressure on the climb. “We were trying to hang on over the top… When I felt myself blowing I thought maybe I can get over it but I didn’t have do enough to do it.
“We were behind by about 30 seconds and we knew we had to commit before the TV knew I’d been dropped because the bunch gets a tow from the TV motorbike and we don’t and we might never get back unfortunately we didn’t get it going before the TV saw us.”
Still, Cavendish seemed relaxed with his family around him at the finish and will doubtless be making plans to find his top end before his big goal of the Tour de France in July. Before that race he is due to race the Tour of California in later this month and Tour of Slovenia in June.