Mark Cavendish, who crashed out of the Tour de France last month on the opening stage in Harrogate, will ride next month’s Tour of Britain, with his Omega Pharma-Quick Step focusing its efforts at the Vuelta, which starts on Saturday, on Rigoberto Uran’s challenge for the overall victory.
The 29-year-old suffered a separated shoulder as he crashed within sight of the line in the Yorkshire town, where he had been targeting the stage win and with it the right to wear the leader’s yellow jersey for the first time in his career.
He returned to racing last week in the Tour de l’Ain, which lasted five days, and later this month will participate in another short French stage race, the Tour du Poitou Charentes from 26 to 29 August to help ease himself back into form.
Quoted on the team’s website, its sport and development director Rolf Aldag, said: "Mark has proven that he's worked very hard since his crash at the Tour de France. Just six weeks after his injury, he took part in the Tour de l'Ain and worked as an important supporting rider to his teammates, even though obviously he is understandably not yet back to 100% 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 Charentes, in order get some more competition kilometres 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," he added.
Cavendish has ridden the Tour of Britain in each of the last three seasons and this year’s participation will be his eighth since his debut in the race in 2005. Along the way, he’s won ten stages, the first of those a prologue at Crystal Palace in 2007.
Speaking of his recovery from injury, Cavendish said: "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. 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 Charentes. 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."
Assuming Cavendish does line up at the start of the race in Liverpool on 7 September, he will do so alongside former Columbia and Sky team mate Sir Bradley Wiggins, last week confirmed as defending the Tour of Britain title he won last year.
Cavendish’s omission from Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Vuelta squad means Uran will receive the full support of his team mates at the Belgian outfit during the three week Spanish race, where the line-up includes Tom Boonen and Tony Martin.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.