Dimension Data's Mark Renshaw is making an earlier-than-expected return to racing this week at the Amgen Tour of California, suffering in the bunch as he plots his return to the Tour de France where he hopes to lead out Mark Cavendish.
Although it's not yet clear if Cavendish will have recovered from mononucleosis in time to compete in the Tour this year, Renshaw says his own early return from surgery to correct an ankle injury suffered in Scheldeprijs means he'll definitely be there in July.
"Yeah, for sure," he told Cyclingnews when asked if he'd be at this year's Tour. "I've got plenty of time to come good before then. So I've still got Suisse, Dauphine and also Slovenia to race. There's no real confirmed plan yet, but there is plenty of training to be done."
Asked if Cavendish would be ready for July, Renshaw was less certain.
"I hope so," he said. "That would be nice. But it's probably more important that he looks after himself and doesn't prolong the comeback with early exhaustion. I think he'll manage it well."
Cavendish, who has won 10 stages at the California race over the years, was slated to come back this year to battle his Tour de France sprint rivals, but the mononucleosis diagnosis scuttled those plans.
"To be honest, I shouldn't be here either," said Renshaw, who has finished at or near the bottom of the results each day so far. "I'm just trying to finish each day. I did 14 road rides before I came here in five and a half weeks since Scheldeprijs.
"I'm just here because I already had a flight booked and it came in handy," he said. "I had to fill a spot. Basically I had to start somewhere racing and it was here or Norway, and the weather is better here."
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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