Mark Cavendish returns to training after Epstein Barr diagnosis

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) has started training again after being diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) for the second time in August. Despite being able to get back out on the bike, the Manxman confirmed in a Twitter video that he would not be making a pre-planned appearance at the Six Day London next week.

"Hi everyone, I’m really disappointed to say that I won't be riding at Six Day London this year. I've been on my bike for four days, I'm feeling a lot better but I won't be in any condition to ride. I'm disappointed, but I will be there supporting with my family," Cavendish said in the video posted on Twitter.

Cavendish has not raced since the RideLondon-Surrey Classic in July, when he finished 12th in the final sprint. He rode the Tour de France earlier in the month but had to leave early when he missed the time cut on stage 11 along with Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin). He was down to race the European Championships and the subsequent Arctic Race of Norway but pulled out on medical advice.

It was confirmed at the start of August that Cavendish had EBV for the second time in his career. He was first diagnosed with the virus in April of 2017 and spent months out of action before returning to racing at the Tour de France.

This season has been one blighted by illness and injury for Cavendish and one he would likely want to put behind him quickly. Following a strong start at the Dubai Tour with victory on stage 3, and a solid ride at the Tour of Oman, Cavendish crashed out in the neutral zone of the opening stage at the Abu Dhabi Tour. He was diagnosed with concussion but came back just a few weeks later to ride Tirreno-Adriatico. The Italian race also ended prematurely for Cavendish with a heavy crash in the opening team time trial.

The Tirreno-Adriatico crash left Cavendish with a broken rib, but he plugged on and made the start of Milan-San Remo at the end of March. He looked to be in contention until a huge collision with some road furniture in the final kilometres.

Cavendish's future is still up in the air, and it was notable that he was wearing his team Dimension Data kit in the video, whereas he was in plain clothes when he recorded a video about his EBV diagnosis. In recent months, Cavendish has been linked to a number of different teams, including Bahrain-Merida, but recent reports indicate that he has reached a new agreement to extend his contract with Dimension Data by a further year.

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