The Dimension Data sprinter’s mother hails from the English county, which gives him added motivation to do well - especially as he crashed out of the 2014 Tour de France on the opening stage in Harrogate.
“When the Tour started there in Yorkshire in 2014, it was like a dream,” Cavendish said, speaking ahead of the race. “I never thought it would happen. Obviously it didn’t go how I wanted [it to].
“It’s going to be incredible to be back,” he said. “It’s the people in Yorkshire - the friendliest people that you’ll ever meet - and they absolutely love bike riding.”
It will be Cavendish’s first race back since he spectacularly crashed out of Milan-San Remo in mid-March, having somersaulted over a traffic island.
Fortunately, he avoided serious injury, but he’s happy to get back to racing, and competing at the Tour de Yorkshire for the first time.
“My friends that have raced Yorkshire tell me that it’s no different to how the Tour de France was in terms of the amount of people that line the street,” said Cavendish. “I know Sir Gary Verity, the organiser, and the Welcome to Yorkshire team very well, and I know that they do a tremendous job, so I’m looking forward to it.”
With the bad luck that also saw him crash out of the Abu Dhabi Tour in February, followed by a crash two weeks later during the team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, seemingly behind him, Cavendish is hoping to rediscover his sprinting legs at the Tour de Yorkshire.
“I’m in my 13th year as a professional now and I feel as hungry as ever,” he said. “I know I can win and I want to win. That won’t change. The moment it does change, it will be the time to stop.”