Dimension Data announces its final nine-man line-up for the Tour de France, and British rider Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings are included
Cavendish goes into the 2016 Tour as the rider with the most stage victories in the race, currently standing at 26. Only Belgian legend Eddy Merckx and Frenchman Bernard Hinault have won more Tour stages, at 34 and 28 wins respectively.
Cavendish will, of course, be looking to add to his tally and move closer to Hinault. However, the 31-year-old Manxman has another target just after the Tour in the shape of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where it was announced last week that he will compete in the omnium event on the track for Great Britain.
With Cavendish putting in a lot of training on the track, there may have been some effect to his top-end road sprint speed. He placed second to Adam Blythe in Sunday’s British road race national championships. It also remains to be seen whether Cavendish will complete the entire Tour, with just a short gap between the end of the race and the start of the Rio Olympics in August.
Cummings goes into the Tour having been passed over for Olympic selection. His focus will be on opportunistic stage wins, which have become a Cummings speciality. The Wirral rider has already taken three major victories this season after springing late attacks in the Critérium du Dauphiné, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of The Basque Country.
Last year, Cummings won stage 14 of the Tour, beating French overall hopes Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r) on a medium mountain stage.
Watch: Tour de France 2016 – the sprinters
Cavendish will be assisted in his sprint efforts by long-time supporters Austrian Bernhard Eisel and Australian Mark Renshaw.
Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen provides another option for hilly stages, and Daniel Teklehaimanot and his Eritrean fans will be hoping to see him in the polka-dot jersey of King of the Mountains leader.
The remainder of the team is made up of Eritrean Natnael Berhane, South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Belgian Serge Pauwels.
Dimension Data team for 2016 Tour de France
Natnael Berhane (Eri)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)
Mark Cavendish (GBr)
Steve Cummings (GBr)
Bernhard Eisel (Aut)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Serge Pauwels (Bel)
Mark Renshaw (Aus)
Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri)