Mark Cavendish will not take part in the 2019 Tour de France after being omitted from Dimension Data's eight-man line-up. It is the first time Cavendish has missed the Tour de France since his race debut in 2007.
The 34-year-old had been hoping to take on the Tour this year after a disappointing 2018, which saw him miss the time cut on stage 11 to La Rosiérè. He was later diagnosed with Epstein-Barr syndrome, and was forced to take an extended break from competition.
Cavendish returned this season cleared of the virus, aiming to work his way back into condition to compete for stage wins at the Tour and close the gap to Eddy Merckx's record stage win tally of 34.
But the Manxman has not been able to really compete as he may have wanted in races this season, with his best result a third place on stage three of the Tour of Turkey in April. He last raced at the Tour of Slovenia and then the British National Championships road race on Sunday, where he finished 22nd.
Dimension Data have instead opted to take Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo off the back of a stage win at the Tour of Slovenia last month. They will also aim for the sprints with three-time stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The rest of the team looks set to try and be competitive in the hunt for stage wins rather than any overall ambitions, with Ben King, Roman Kreuziger and Michael Valgren all included to try and take wins in harder stages.
The surprise inclusion is Britain's Steven Cummings, who has had a fairly quiet season, last racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné where he failed to finish stage two. The 38-year-old will also be aggressive in breakaway stages, having taken two memorable victories in the past at the Tour.
“I was pleasantly surprised about the Tour selection, I wasn’t expecting that," Cummings said.
"I’m very grateful to the team again for the opportunity to go to the Tour and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think it’s a pretty open Tour, there are a lot of chances to be aggressive and I think it suits the team that we have very well and I hope that we can have a great July and every one can be proud of us.”
South African rider Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and the experienced Danish rider Lars Bak complete the line-up for Dimension Data.
Dimension Data squad for 2019 Tour de France
Edvald Boasson Hagen
Reinardt Janse v. Rensburg
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1