World champion sat out training today due to illness that struck him down on way to Gulf

Team Sky race coach Rod Ellingworth insists he is “confident” that Mark Cavendish will be fit enough to make his debut for them tomorrow in the Tour of Qatar, despite the world champion having missed training today after coming down with an illness.

While his team mates were out on the road, on the advice of Team Sky’s medical staff the 26-year-old spent today resting in his hotel room. He had started to feel ill during his flight from London to Doha yesterday evening.

Ellingworth, who masterminded British Cycling's three-year projected that resulted in Cavendish winning the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen in September, said: “Obviously it’s disappointing that Mark has fallen ill the day before his Team Sky debut. He felt fine when he boarded the plane last night but wasn’t 100% when he got off it.

“The team doctor assessed him last night, and again this morning, and everyone felt it was in his best interests not to ride with the others. Since then he’s been recovering in his hotel room and we’re doing everything we can to get him back on his feet again.

“He’s really frustrated that he’s come down with this because he’s in great shape condition-wise and was looking to hit the ground running here in Qatar,” Ellingworth added.

“We’re still confident he will start the race but we’ll continue to monitor his health for the rest of today and make a decision on whether he will start the race at 10am local time on Sunday morning,” he concluded.


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.