Mark Cavendish will ride the Tour de Yorkshire next week, it was confirmed on Friday. The Manxman's schedule has been up in the air recently as he continues his comeback from Epstein Barr Virus. However, after a decent week of racing at the recent Tour of Turkey, he is heading for home roads in Yorkshire as he looks to build towards the Tour de France.
Yorkshire is the home region of Cavendish's mother, though he doesn't have the best memories of racing there. He crashed out in Harrogate on the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France, when the yellow jersey was up for grabs. He raced the Tour de Yorkshire for the first time last year but, after crashing heavily at Milan-San Remo the previous month, wasn't competitive and abandoned on the final stage.
"I’m really excited to heading back to the Tour de Yorkshire along with my Dimension Data for Qhubeka teammates to race in one of the most beautiful places in the world," said Cavendish
"I really enjoyed the tough but beautiful parcours last year as I rode the race for the first time, and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for us in the 2019 edition. Over and above the racing though, it always blows my mind to see the incredible support of the fans. With some of my family in Yorkshire, it makes it so special and I can’t wait to see them all again."
Cavendish will be joined in the Dimension Data line-up for the four-stage race, running May 2-5, by lead-out man Mark Renshaw and road captain Bernhard Eisel. Tom-Jelte Slagter will target the more undulating stages, while the roster is completed by Nic Diamini and Rasmus Tiller.
Cavendish, 33, is set to ride the Tour of California later in May as he tries to reach top shape for the Tour de France. After a long break in the second half of last season due to a recurrence of the Epstein Barr virus, Cavendish has been easing his way back into racing in 2019, mostly working for teammates rather than going for his own chances.
After a break during a spring period when his team were not able to say when he'd be back, he returned to action at the Tour of Turkey earlier this month. He didn't win a stage but third place on stage 3 perhaps signalled a turning point and gave him confidence he can be competitive again.
Cavendish has won 30 Tour de France stages and has made it a career goal to equal and surpass Eddy Merckx' record of 34.