Mark Cavendish headlines Dimension Data squad for 2018 Tour de France

The Manxman returns to the Tour after a difficult start to the year

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Mark Cavendish is confirmed to lead the Dimension Data squad once again at the Tour de France, with the 30-time stage winner backed-up by a strong sprint support in 2018.

>>> Tour de France 2018 start list

The Manxman has had a difficult time of it since crashing out of the 2017 Tour, with just a single win to his name at the Dubai Tour since then.

This year the 33-year-old has been blighted by bad luck, crashing out in the neutralised zone of stage one of the Abu Dhabi Tour, crashing in the opening team time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico and crashing into a bollard during Milan-San Remo.

Cavendish has since competed at the Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of California, Tour of Slovenia and the Adriatica Ionica Race, but has failed to take a victory at any of those races, with a second place at the Adriatica Ionica on stage five his best result.

Still, Cavendish will hoping to turn his luck around on the stage he thrives on the most, the Tour de France. He entered the 2016 edition not looking to be at his best in comparison to some of the other sprinters, but took four stages in one of his best appearances in recent years. Cavendish says he's still aiming at edging closer to overtaking Eddy Merckx's record stage win tally of 34.

“I’m so excited to be able to ride the Tour de France again in my career, for the third time in Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka," Cavendish said.

“The Tour de France is not only the biggest cycling event on the planet but it’s one of the biggest sporting events on the planet; and it’s the best platform to get across what we as Team Dimension Data do for our charity Qhubeka, to get people in rural parts of Africa on bicycles.

“I’m excited to be part of a strong team and I’ll be looking at getting closer to that record (34) of Eddy Merckx.”

As usual, he'll be supported by long-time lead-out man Mark Renshaw, as well as three-time stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen, who took over sprint responsibilities last year after Cavendish crashed out.

The rest of the team is made up of Belgians Julien Vermote and Serge Pauwels, South Africans Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Jay Thomson, and The Netherlands' Tom-Jelte Slagter.

The Tour de France kicks-off on July 7 in Vendée, however Cavendish will make his last racing appearance before the Tour at the British Road National Championships road race on Sunday.

Dimension Data line-up for the 2018 Tour de France

Mark Cavendish

Edvald Boasson Hagen

Mark Renshaw

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg

Serge Pauwels

Julien Vermote

Tom-Jelte Slagter

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