Mark Cavendish to race Tour de Yorkshire in early comeback

Following his brutal crash at Milan-San Remo last month, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) will make an earlier-than-expected return to racing at the Tour de Yorkshire at the start of May.

The British sprinter fractured a rib and injured an ankle when he collided with a traffic bollard on the approach to the Poggio towards the end of the Italian Monument – the latest in a string of crashes that has blighted the start of his 2018 campaign.

Forced to miss the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Cavendish suggested last month that he could be back racing at the Tour of California in May, as he seeks to get back on track for the Tour de France. His recovery, however, has advanced quicker than expected, giving him the chance to make his debut at the four-stage Tour de Yorkshire, which runs from May 3-6. 

“I’m delighted to have recovered sufficiently from my injuries at Milan-San Remo to be back racing sooner than I initially thought and what better way to do that than at what could be described as a home race for me, the Tour de Yorkshire,” Cavendish said in a statement from the race organisers.

Cavendish perhaps has unhappy memories of the region of northern England after crashing out of the 2014 Tour de France as he prepared to sprint for victory and the yellow jersey in Harrogate. At the Tour de Yorkshire, a legacy event for that 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, there are opportunities for redemption on stage 1 into Doncaster and stage 3 into Scarborough, though Cavendish suggested results aren’t top of his agenda.

“My mother’s from Harrogate and obviously the last time I raced things didn’t go that great in the 2014 Tour de France; but one thing I do remember is the incredible crowds that I know the Tour de Yorkshire always provides. It’s the first time that I’ve raced the Tour de Yorkshire and I’m extremely excited,” he said.

“Results-wise; I’m not sure where my form will be actually only having had a couple of weeks back on the bike but I’ll just be absorbing the atmosphere in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

Cavendish has had a frustrating, crash-ridden start to the 2018 season. After winning a stage at the Dubai Tour in February, he suffered concussion and whiplash on the opening day of the Abu Dhabi Tour when he was brought down in a crash caused by a race vehicle. On his return at Tirreno-Adriatico in March, he crashed in the team time trial on the opening day and crossed the line with blood on his face and a fractured rib. Back in action 10 days later, his Milan-San Remo again ended in the X-Ray truck. 

“Mark is a living legend in the world of cycling and we’re over the moon that he will be competing at the Tour de Yorkshire next month,” said Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive Gary Verity. "His crash in Italy looked really serious but he’s such a tough, tenacious character and we’re thrilled he’s been able to make such a speedy recovery.

“I’m sure Mark will have his eyes on at least two of the stages on this year’s route and we can’t wait to see him launch his trademark sprint. It’s not every day you get to see a sportsman of his stature competing on home roads, and we’re certain he’ll receive a hero’s welcome.”

It was also announced that Cavendish’s teammate Serge Pauwels will be back to try and repeat his overall title from last year.

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