Rolf Adag, Team Dimension Data’s head of performance, says he selected Mark Cavendish for the Tour de France, but was subsequently overruled by team principal Doug Ryder.
Ryder has insisted it was a “team decision” to leave Cavendish out of the final eight-man squad, though he did acknowledge there were “differences of opinion”.
“There’s no secret about it,” Aldag said. “I wanted to have him here and I think he would have suited our strategy but ultimately it was a team owner decision.
“It’s within my responsibility to select a team and I called eight names and Mark was included.
“The team owner has the right to overrule me, which he did.”
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Cavendish has been on a limited race schedule, following a training plan designed to see him peak physically at the TDF. This has left him short of results to bolster his claim for inclusion, but Aldag said that he had seen the Manxman’s form first hand.
“I have physically seen him, I’m one of very few who have physically seen him and been following him for quite a while,” he said.
“I was there (at the Tour of Slovenia last month) and I’ve seen a Mark Cavendish who is 300 percent better than in 2016 when he dropped out on stage two and fell asleep in my car after 20 kilometres because he was so tired.
“That’s why I thought he was definitely in a good path and in a good way so it was worth taking him.
“I’m not just talking about (doing it for) the media and to give him another Tour de France. I thought about the sprints and that he’s a good choice.”
Aldag was speaking moments after Ryder took questions on Cavendish’s absence for the first time.
“Mark is a legend of this race,” Ryder said. “It is sad for the race that he’s not here.
“We took that into account for sure and spoke to the organisers as well. We selected a team based on the route and how hard it is this year.
“Multiple people made that decision There was a whole team involved, it was a team decision. Our whole high performance team was involved.”