Mark Cavendish will target the British national championships before heading to the Tour de France, race organiser British Cycling has confirmed. Cavendish is the latest to be confirmed for the nationals, along with defending champion and Dimension Data teammate Steve Cummings, and Tom Pidcock, while Sarah Storey and Katie Archibald have been named for the women’s races.
Cavendish will only ride the road race on July 1, as has been the case in all of his participations since turning professional. He won the British national title in 2013 and finished second in both 2015 and 2016 as he tried to take on the combined strength of Team Sky. Last year he battled back from illness to compete on home roads on the Isle of Man but failed to finish, with Cummings winning both the time trial and road race titles.
The 2018 British national championships are set to take place between June 28 and July 1 in Northumberland. The men’s road race is 185.6 kilometres on two different circuits near Stamfordham, to the west of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Cavendish is currently racing at the Tour of Slovenia, which is due to finish on Sunday, and will then head to Italy for the inaugural five-day Adriatica Ionica Race on June 20. The Manxman will have almost a week to recover from that stage race before the national championships take place. The Tour de France begins six days later on July 7.
The 2018 season has been difficult for both Cavendish and his team. He crashed three times in three successive races, suffering a concussion at the Abu Dhabi Tour and breaking a rib at Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. He returned to racing at the Tour de Yorkshire, following two months on the sidelines before heading to the United States for the Tour of California.
Cavendish is one of a number of Dimension Data riders who have suffered injuries this season, with one of his key domestiques Bernhard Eisel out after suffering a subdural haematoma following a crash with a car at Tirreno-Adriatico. Lachlan Morton, Scott Thwaites and Ben O’Connor are also all out of action due to injuries, while Louis Meintjes had to abandon the Giro d’Italia after falling ill.
Cavendish is hoping his current block of racing, including the British national championships, will help him be back at his best for the Tour de France.
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