Dimension Data's British trio Mark Cavendish, Steve Cummings and Scott Thwaites selected for 2017 Tour de France - Road Cycling UK

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Dimension Data’s British trio Mark Cavendish, Steve Cummings and Scott Thwaites selected for 2017 Tour de France

Yorkshireman prepares for Tour debut as fellow Brits make cut after injury and illness

All three Brits in the Team Dimension Data squad will be at the 2017 Tour de France, after 30-time stage winner Mark Cavendish, British road race and time trial champion Steve Cummings and Tour debutant Scott Thwaites were confirmed in their nine-man line-up.

Both Cavendish and Cummings were doubts for the Tour after lengthy lay-offs – Cavendish with glandular fever, and Cummings after crashing out of the Tour of the Basque Country – while Thwaites has never previously ridden the Tour.

But all three will be on the Dusseldorf startline, with Cummings airing his new British champion’s skinsuit for the opening stage time trial, as part of a Dimension Data team clearly set-up to hunt for stage wins.

Mark Cavendish has proved his fitness to earn selection for the 2017 Tour de France (pic – RCS Sport)

Cavendish will be joined at the Tour de France by his full lead-out train, with chief lieutenant Mark Renshaw, South African champion Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, two-time stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen and the huge engine of Bernie Eisel all selected.

Janse van Rensburg is one of two Africans in the nine-man team, alongside debutant Jaco Venter, though none of the team selected for the Giro d’Italia – including Eritrean duo Daniel Teklehaimanot and Natnael Berhane – will be doubling up.

Instead the team is completed by Cummings – who has won stages of the 2015 and 2016 races, and proved his form in some style at the National Championships – Thwaites, and Tour de Yorkshire winner Serge Pauwels.

Newly crowned national champion Steve Cummings will air his blue, white and red jersey for the first time (pic – Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com)

Cavendish admitted that were it not the Tour de France, he may have continued his recovery in a different manner, but is pleased his hard work trying to get fit again had paid off.

“As has been widely reported, it’s been a difficult few months for me on the back of the illness that set me back earlier on in the season,” he said.

“Despite this setback and my lack of race time I’ve worked incredibly hard, both to ensure I could firstly recover from the illness and then aiming to build my fitness up as much as possible in order to start the Tour.

“If I am being totally honest, had this not been the Tour de France we may have collectively taken a different approach with regards to my inclusion but I feel that I owe it to myself, the team, our sponsors and most importantly to the Tour itself given its history and everything that it stands for – as well as the emotional attachment I have for it – to give it my best and to put everything I have in to trying to help the team.”

Scott Thwaites will make his Tour de France debut as one of three Brits on the startline for Dimension Data (pic – Sirotti)

Team principal Douglas Ryder turned his thoughts to Thwaites and fellow debutant Venter, meanwhile, adding: “Jaco and Scott will have their eyes wide open as they experience the enormousness of the Tour de France, and what a privilege to do that with the incredible experience of the rest of the team.”

On the team’s targets for the week, the team said in their press release: “With a race strategy that served us well in both 2015 and 2016, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will once again target specific stages with individual riders during the 2017 edition of the race.

“Riding from the front, searching for breakaway’s and looking to wear a leaders jersey will also bring further awareness to our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.

“We are confident these nine riders will make an impact that matters on the African continent over the next three weeks.”

Dimension Data team for 2017 Tour de France

Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Steve Cummings (GBR)
Scott Thwaites (GBR)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR)
Bernie Eisel (AUT)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Serge Pauwels (BEL)
Mark Renshaw (AUS)
Jaco Venter (RSA)

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