Mark Cavendish’s misses out as Omega Pharma-Quickstep confirm Vuelta a Espana line-up

Rigoberto Uran's support squad named but Manx Missile not included

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) will not ride this year’s Vuelta a Espana after missing out on a place in the Belgian team’s nine-man squad.

Cavendish had hoped to start the race, which starts with a team time trial in Jerez on Saturday August 23, after crashing out of the Tour de France on stage one.

The Manx Missile returned to racing at the Tour de l’Ain, forming part of Gianni Meersman’s sprint train in the French 2.HC-classified race, but the team have opted not to pick him for the final Grand Tour of the season.

Mark Cavendish will not ride this year’s Vuelta a Espana (Pic: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix)

Cavendish will instead ride the Tour of Britain, where he will join former Team Sky team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins on the start line for the second year running.

Omega Pharma-Quickstep – who had named Cavendish in their provisional line-up – have named a balanced Vuelta a Espana squad to support Giro d’Italia runner-up Rigoberto Uran in Spain.

Wout Poels, Gianluca Brambilla and Pieter Serry, who all rode with Uran at the Giro, return to support the Colombian’s GC bid at the Vuelta.

They are joined by Tom Boonen and Tony Martin – both of whom have earmarked the race as important to their World Championship build-up, and will target stage wins alongside offering experienced support to Uran.

Carlos Verona makes his Grand Tour debut, while Martin Velits and Nikolas Maes complete the line-up.

There is no place for Czech champion Zdenek Stybar, however, whose crash at the Eneco Tour means he joins Cavendish in missing out having been named in the provisional squad.

Sport & development manager Rolf Aldag said: “The team is built up around Rigoberto Uran, who will get full support from his teammates.

“During the Giro d’Italia, Rigoberto proved he has the skills for the major tours, so he deserves the support of the team.

“His approach to the race was similar to the one set in motion for the Giro d’Italia.”

Rigoberto Uran was the first Colombian in history pull on the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia and will hope for further success at the Vuelta a Espana (Pic: Sirotti)

Alongside Uran’s GC bid, the Belgian super team hope Martin can challenge in the two individual time trials, as well as anchoring their team time trial effort on stage one.

Boonen, meanwhile, is set to be an important figure on the flat stages, where Aldag hopes he will ‘stand out with his dashes’.

Aldag concluded: “In general the team is well balanced, with riders who will be able to support Uran in every racing situation.”

Cavendish will be unable to add to his 43 career Grand Tour stage wins this season but instead will ride the  Tour du Poitou Charentes next week, before taking his place at the Tour of Britain.

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