Mark Cavendish will make his debut at the Arctic Race of Norway later this month, the organisers have announced. Cavendish will be joined by climber Mekseb Debesay and stagiaire, and British national champion, Connor Swift, with the rest of the Dimension Data team for the race yet to be announced.
Cavendish is the biggest confirmed name in the sprint field and is set to go up against Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Sondre Holst Enger (Israel Cycling Academy).
The Arctic Race of Norway will be only the second race back for Cavendish after he missed the time cut on stage 11 of the Tour de France. Cavendish returned to racing at the RideLondon-Surrey Classic at the end of last month, where he finished 12th. He was due to compete in the road race at the European Championships this weekend but was advised by doctors to rest.
The 2018 season has been a particularly challenging one for Cavendish after a litany of early-season crashes. It started well with a stage win at the Dubai Tour, but he was forced to abandon the Abu Dhabi Tour on stage 1 when a faulty brake sensor caused one of the race vehicles to slow into the bunch during the neutral zone and sparking a crash.
Cavendish was subsequently diagnosed with a concussion, though he was able to return to compete at Tirreno-Adriatico a few weeks later. However, he crashed heavily during the opening team time trial when he hit a pothole, leaving him with a broken rib. He broke a second rib in a huge crash at his next race, Milan-San Remo. The Manxman collided with a piece of road furniture with under 10 kilometres remaining and was dramatically catapulted from his bike.
Following his third successive crash, Cavendish took a two-month break from racing before making his comeback at the Tour de Yorkshire at the start of May. He rode the Tour of California, Tour of Slovenia, Adriatica Ionica Race and the national championships ahead of the Tour de France.
He struggled in a lot of the early sprints and his best finish was eighth in Amiens on stage 8. He was then one of several sprinters to leave the race during the Alps after he missed the time cut on a difficult stage to La Rosiere.
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