Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) will begin his final preparations for the Tour de France at the Tour of Slovenia, before riding the inaugural Adriatica Ionica Race in Italy, the team has told Cyclingnews. Cavendish will have three days between the two events, which will give him 10 days of racing, ending just under two weeks before the Tour de France.
Cavendish is also considering riding the road race at the British National Championships, which take place on July 1 in Northumberland.
It is the third year running that Cavendish will use the Tour of Slovenia, which takes place between June 13 and 17, as preparation for the Tour de France. A year ago, he finished second to Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) on the final day of racing in Novo Mesto. The last day is an individual time trial but the opening two days of action will give the sprinters an opportunity for a stage win.
A three-hour drive from the finish of the Tour of Slovenia in Novo Mesto, the Adriatica Ionica Race sets off from Musile di Piave on June 20 with a team time trial to Lido di Jesolo. The race will gradually move back towards Slovenia, via the mountains, before finishing in Trieste. Stage 2 is a very lumpy day out that is unlikely to favour the sprinters before they head into the big mountains for a summit finish on the Passo di Giau on day three. There is very little in the way of flat road in this race, but the final two stages could provide another chance for Cavendish and the other sprinters to take something from the race.
After a good start to the season at the Dubai Tour, Cavendish endured a challenging spring, beginning with a crash on the opening day of racing at the Abu Dhabi Tour. The Manxman suffered a concussion after crashing when a faulty brake sensor resulted in a race vehicle braking in front of the peloton in the neutralised zone. He returned at Tirreno-Adriatico but fractured a rib when he crashed in the opening team time trial. He was forced out of the race after finishing the stage outside the time limit.
Cavendish's bad luck was compounded with a high-speed crash in the finale of Milan-San Remo when he collided with some unmarked road furniture. The incident left him with another fractured rib and he was forced to take some time out of racing to recover. He has since raced at the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of California, where his best result was 10th in the opening stage of the latter event.
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