Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) will continue his recovery from injury at next week’s Tour de Poitou Charentes as he bids to prove his fitness ahead of the Tour of Britain.
Cavendish raced for the first time since crashing out on stage one of the Tour de France at last week’s Tour de l’Ain, forming part of Gianni Meersman’s stage two-winning sprint train.
And, though the Manx Missile admits he is still not back to full fitness, the team are keen for him to get more miles in the legs ahead of the start of the Tour of Britain in Liverpool on Sunday September 7.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep directeur sportif Rolf Aldag, who earlier this week confirmed the Cavendish will not ride the Vuelta a Espana, said the team were pleased by the 29-year-old’s attitude to his recovery.
“Mark has proven that he’s worked very hard since his crash at the Tour de France,” said Aldag. “Just six weeks after his injury, he took part in the Tour de l’Ain and worked as an important supporting rider to his team-mates, even though obviously he is understandably not yet back to 100 per cent condition.
“We really appreciated Mark’s behaviour and his desire to get back into racing as soon as possible. Now the team believe that Mark needs a further intermediate step, which will be the Poitou Charents, in order get some more competition kilometers into his legs and continue his progress of gradual re-entry into competition.
“After the short French stage race, the plan is for Mark to line up for the start of the Tour of Britain with the aim of definitively rediscovering his race feeling by competing and trying to get good results.”
It will be the fourth consecutive year Cavendish has competed at Britain’s biggest stage race, having enjoyed great success in the previous three editions.
He has bagged eight stage wins in that time – to add to the two he previously won in 2007 – and also spent time in the leader’s jersey in 2011 and 2012
And the Manxman is keen to add to that list of achievements this time out if he can rediscover his form in time.
“After the injury both myself and the team set a goal to get slowly back into a race environment at the Tour de l’Ain, which I’ve now done,” he said.
“It was not an easy race for me because naturally my shoulder was still bothering me a little as it continues to get stronger each day. Now the next step is another shorter stage race at Poitou Charents.
“We will continue to monitor my condition week by week; as things stand it’s impossible to know how I’ll be feeling each week considering the severity of the injury and the accelerated recovery time.
“One thing is for sure, I would like to be at the start for the Tour of Britain for another chance to race in front of British fans again this year which holds lots of fond memories.
“My goal there will be to do the best I possibly can depending on the condition I’m in.”