Mark Cavendish, one of the favourites for the title at the UCI Road World Championships, has suffered a setback in his preparations, having had to spend six days off the bike as a result of an intestinal infection, diagnosed towards the end of September.
Having abanonded the GP Beghelli on September 25, the 2011 world champion has been back in training since the weekend but is clearly not back to full fitness as he pulled out of the Münsterland Giro on Monday and pulled out of today's Paris-Bourges.
Cyclingnews contacted the Dimension Data team today and they confirmed Cavendish had succumbed to illness last week but did not give a latest update on the British rider's condition.
At the Münsterland Giro, directuer sportif Rolf Aldag told Radsport-News.com: “He was supposed to - and wanted to - start here. But at the GP Beghelli he abandoned, totally empty, after 70 km. Then he went to the doctor and didn’t touch his bike for six days because of an intestinal infection. That makes it tough for the Worlds.
“It is a day-to-day decision as to whether he rides Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours. If not, then you can pretty much forget it.” he continued.
Cavendish was not at the start of Paris-Bourges today, but is on the start list for Paris-Tours on Sunday.
Cavendish's last completed race was the GP Citta di Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini, on September 22. Before that he rode a strong Giro della Toscana, finishing sixth overall.
“He was still there when there were only 40 riders in the group and he had no problems – he looked good," said Aldag.
Cavendish won the road Worlds title in 2011 in Copenhagen. That year he abandoned the Vuelta a Espana due to illness, but then rode the Tour of Britain, winning two stages, before Worlds.
“He can turn these things around really fast," added Aldag.