Mark Cavendish will make his next competitive appearance of the season at the Tour of Turkey, Etixx – Quick-Step confirmed on Tuesday, and will also compete at the British National Championships ahead of his return to the Tour de France.
The programme is the same as the Manxman used on the road to the 2014 Tour de France, where he crashed out on the first stage, and includes both the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse to fine-tune his form.
“I’m looking forward to this important part of my season,” Cavendish said in a statement,”Together with the team we decided to go with the same programme of last year.
“Last year it was a successful period with victories at Tour of Turkey, Tour of California, and Tour de Suisse. I also went into Le Tour with a really good feeling. But unfortunately I crashed in the first stage, so everything was over in a second.”
Cavendish, who performed well and took the red jersey at the Giro d’Italia in 2013, will not return to the race, but focus fully on finding his feet again at the Tour.
“Of course it’s a pity,” he said.”I don’t like to miss the Giro, which is a key race that helped me build up my career. I have great memories of that race and I hope to come back to the Giro in the future and do well again.
“But as of this year I want to focus on the optimal preparation for the Tour de France, and going into the races to return to the high level of performance I had at the beginning of the year.”
For Mark Cavendish, 2014 will always be remembered as the year of that crash in Harrogate. But despite missing out
Cavendish’s teammate Tom Boonen will instead make his way to the Giro for the first time in his career. Boonen saw his Classics campaign go out the window back in March, with a crash on stage one of Paris-Nice. The 34-year-old will all take to the start of the Tour of Turkey alongside Cavendish ahead of the Giro.
Etixx will focus their efforts on helping to get Rigoberto Uran one step higher on the podium of the Italian grand tour, after taking second place in 2014.
“I’m very excited to start the next part of the season,” Boonen said on Tuesday. “It will be nice to go to the Tour of Turkey, a race I’ve never done before and see what happens.
“For sure I will be suffering a little bit, but it will be useful for the Giro. As for the Giro, I’m happy to be at the start for the first time in my career to support the team strategy in function of Rigo.
“This is also a really nice new experience for me. I haven’t raced a lot in Italy in my career due to conflicts with my big objectives. Now, I have that chance. I know I have a lot of supporters in Italy. The Giro has great tradition and it will be great to race there and fight for the Maglia Rosa together with Uran.”