Mark Cavendish is to take indefinite break from cycling due to illness. The 30-time Tour de France stage winner has been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus for a second time and will take a period of total rest from training and racing.
Having been eliminated Tour de France on stage 11 as a result of missing the time cut, Cavendish was due to race the European Championships and RideLondon but subsequently withdrew ahead of both events.
Cavendish's team, Dimension Data, has now confirmed the 33-year-old has been 'unknowingly training and racing with EBV over recent months'.
“This season I’ve not felt physically myself and despite showing good numbers on the bike I have felt that there’s been something not right," said Cavendish.
"Given this and on the back of these medical results, I’m glad to now finally have some clarity as to why I haven’t been able to perform at my optimum level during this time.
"Having received expert medical advice as a result of the findings I’ve been advised to take a period of total rest in order to fully recover.
Cavendish was first diagnosed with EBV in April 2017, but returned to the peloton at the Tour of Slovenia two months later.
However, Cavendish's career has stalled since then, with the Olympic silver medalist abandoning the 2017 Tour de France with a broken collarbone and missing the first half of the 2018 campaign after crashes in the Abu Dhabi Tour and Milan-San Remo.
Cavendish added: "I’m now looking forward to taking the time necessary in order to get back to 100% fitness before then returning to racing again at peak physical condition.
"I’d like to thank everyone for the incredible support I’ve received and I look forward to seeing you all out on the road again soon.”