Cavendish closes road season at Paris-Tours

With 56th place at Paris-Tours, Mark Cavendish drew the curtain on his "toughest season" of his road career to date.

The Dimension Data rider's early season was derailed by Epstein-Barr Virus but he recovered to take his place on the Tour de France start line. However, a crash in the sprint finale of stage 4 saw Cavendish depart the race with a broken shoulder and the 32-year-old has been recovering from his injuries since. While Cavendish will hang up his road wheels for the 2017 season, he is set to race the London Six Day later this month with former teammate Peter Kennaugh.

While hit by injury and illness in 2017, Cavendish was still able to contest 47 race days in 2017. Although down on his season high from 2013 when he pinned on 98 race numbers, last month Cavendish told Cyclingnews and La Gazzetta dello Sport "I've got to keep racing this year, so that I don't affect next year. I've had so little racing due to my illness and injuries that I've got to carry on through."

At Paris-Tours, the season-ending sprinters classic, Dimension Data was active at the head of the peloton controlling the tempo. As the race came alive in the final 10km, Bernie Eisel and Amanuel Gebreigzabhier were active in trying to close down attacks and ensure the sprint finish for Cavendish. However, sports director JP Heynderickx explained that despite the team looking good, ultimately Quick-Step Floors and Matteo Trentin proved too strong on the day.

"Unfortunately we did not get the result we were hoping for today. The guys rode well and Cavendish was looking good right into the final," Heynderickx said. "It was a really difficult final too, with the weather playing a role and a lot of roundabouts and small roads. Our plan was stay out of trouble and ride at the front where it was safe and the guys followed the plan perfectly.

"Our stagiaires did well too and I think it was a good experience for them. Quickstep though, made it difficult to control at the end and particularly Trentin, he showed again how strong he is at the moment."

Crossing the line 45 seconds after Trentin with Ghebreigzabhier for company, Cavendish was the best finisher on the day for Dimension Data who also brought to a close its European season. The final race listed on the team's race calendar is the Tour of Guangxi, held one week before the London Six Day later this month from October 19-24. 

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