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Cavendish delays start of his season

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

HTC-Columbia's Mark Cavendish is delaying the start of his 2010 racing season due to a dental problem. The British sprint star's first race of the year will be the Ruta del Sol on February 17. His first race would have been the Tour of Qatar, starting February 7.

Cavendish underwent emergency dental treatment while at a team training camp in Majorca on January 12 to drain a painful tooth abscess according to the Daily Telegraph. He was given antibiotics and ordered to rest and recover.

"We want to take all precautions and ensure that Mark has fully recovered and is able to get in some extra base training for the long season ahead of him," said Columbia-HTC Team Manager Rolf Aldag. In 2009, Cavendish collected 23 victories.

"His season goals remain the same and he is looking forward to performing as planned in major Spring races like Milano-Sanremo and Flanders before his focus shifts toward the stage racing."

Cavendish has previously told Cyclingnews that his top priority this season will be the green jersey of the best sprinter of the Tour de France.