Mark Cavendish will miss racing for the foreseeable future after being diagnosed with Epstein Barr virus (EBV) for a second time. Cavendish had already been pulled from the European Championships and the Arctic Race of Norway on medical advice.
“This season I’ve not felt physically myself and despite showing good numbers on the bike I have felt that there’s been something not right,” said Cavendish. “Given this and on the back of these medical results, I’m glad to now finally have some clarity as to why I haven’t been able to perform at my optimum level during this time.
“Having received expert medical advice as a result of the findings I’ve been advised to take a period of total rest in order to fully recover. I’m now looking forward to taking the time necessary in order to get back to 100% fitness before then returning to racing again at peak physical condition. I’d like to thank everyone for the incredible support I’ve received and I look forward to seeing you all out on the road again soon.”
This is the second time that Cavendish has fallen ill with EBV after he was diagnosed in April of last year. He spent several months out of action before returning to racing ahead of the Tour de France.
Cavendish has won just once this season at the Dubai Tour and has since struggled to reach top form. Much of the opening part of his season was affected by a series of crashes at the Abu Dhabi Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. The first left Cavendish with concussion, while be broke a rib in each of the subsequent crashes.
Following his injuries, he missed racing for almost two months before returning to action at the Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of California. Cavendish was one of several sprinters who left the Tour de France early after missing the time cut in the Alpine stages. The Manxman’s Dimension Data team says that Cavendish has been unknowingly racing and training with the virus for several months.
Cavendish had been due to race at the Tour of Britain next month but will now miss it, as will Marcel Kittel.