Ahead of his participation in this week’s Tour of Slovenia, which will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 2, Mark Cavendish has received the backing of South African-based Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.
The 33-year-old British rider has endured a tough 2018 season thus far, winning just once. The lone victory arrived at the Dubai Tour in February, but he soon suffered a heavy crash at the Abu Dhabi Tour and then also exited both the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo in March due to crashing out.
Cavendish has since used the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of California to ease back into racing, while this week’s Tour of Slovenia and the Adriatica Ionica Race (June 20-24) in Italy will serve as his final preparation before the Tour de France in July.
“He’s had a lot going on in his life, including becoming a father again,” his long-term director Rolf Aldag told Cyclingnews at the Tour de Suisse.
“It was important to give him space at that time. He then went back to Italy and started training and since then he’s looked good. He’ll do Slovenia and then Adriatica.
“He looks really good, and to be fair to him I’ve not seen him be so consistently fit this year. He’s kept his motivation, and his spirit high. Even when he was a few kilos more he never let his head go down and he’s trained well.”
Aldag also expressed his belief in Cavendish, emphasising that the 30-time stage winner at TDF will be able to compete for more victories at the classic race.
“I’m pretty optimistic and that he will get everything together and be there at the Tour. If we have our routine then we know that he can beat everybody,” Aldag added.
“It’s not really about beating them before the Tour, it’s about getting the routine and preparation right and then going to the Tour.”
Cavendish’s director continued, “Being a track rider gives him a big advantage. He’s also capable of sprinting by himself. As long as you get him into the final, then he’s okay.
“We [Team DiData] might not be doing any drag racing against the other leadouts at the Tour until the final 200 meters, but then that’s hardly going to be a surprise.”
The Tour of Slovenia will be on Wednesday, June 13, with Stage 1 broadcast live on Fox Sports 2 from 15h30 to 17h00 CAT.