Mark Cavendish’s Comeback Trail Rerouted Due to Health Setback

Tirreno Adriatico 2024 - 59th Edition - 5th stage Torricella Sicura - Valle Castellana 144 km - 08/03/2024 - Mark Cavendish (GBR - Astana Qazaqstan Team) - photo Ivan Benedetto/SprintCyclingAgency©2024

Mark Cavendish, the British cycling sprinter, faces a delay in his anticipated return to competitive racing amid health concerns, as revealed by his team, Astana Qazaqstan. The decision alters the course of what is widely expected to be Cavendish’s swansong season in professional cycling. The announcement comes after Cavendish had to withdraw from Milano-Torino on March 13, with expectations of his return at the Scheldeprijs in Belgium – a race he has triumphed in three times, albeit a while ago – dashed due to illness and the need for a prolonged recovery.

Instead of participating in the Scheldeprijs, Cavendish is now set to rejoin the racing circuit later this month at the Tour of Turkey, followed by an appearance at the Tour of Hungary in May. This marks a significant shift in his racing agenda, as the sprinter had reversed his decision to retire at the end of the previous season, fueled by the ambition to break the record for the most stage victories at the Tour de France. Presently, Cavendish shares this record with cycling legend Eddy Merckx, both securing 34 stage wins.

Vasilis Anastopoulos, Astana Qazaqstan’s head of performance, shared insights into Cavendish’s health challenges and his pathway to recovery. “After being sick for several weeks following the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Torino, Mark Cavendish has resumed his training,” said Anastopoulos. This adjustment to Cavendish’s racing schedule reflects a strategic move by the team to ensure he is in peak condition for his major goals of the season.

Cavendish’s storied career includes two victories of the Tour de France’s green jersey, awarded to the best sprinter, alongside stage wins across all three Grand Tours—the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and the Spanish Vuelta. Notably, he clinched the world championship in 2011. However, his recent years on the tour have been marred by a crash during the eighth stage of last summer’s Tour de France, resulting in a broken right collarbone, adding another hurdle in his illustrious but injury-plagued career.

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