British sprint specialist Mark Cavendish is not guaranteed to compete at the Tour de France with Bahrain McLaren and must earn his spot on the team by winning World Tour events before the race in June and July, general manager Rod Ellingworth has said.
The ‘Manx Missile’, who has won 30 Tour de France stages, is a part of a team roster that includes Spaniard Mikel Landa, Dutchman Wout Poels and 2019 Tour stage winner Dylan Teuns of Belgium.
Cavendish, 34, has struggled with fitness since he was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus in 2017. He also missed the 2019 Tour when he was left out of the Dimension Data squad.
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“Nobody is guaranteed for the Tour. It’s a certain type of Tour this year, and I’m not shying away from saying that it’s an excellent Tour de France for Mikel Landa,” Ellingworth told Cycling News
“For Mark, if he’s winning and performing well, why would we not think about going on that journey and trying to be the greatest stage winner in Tour de France history?
“He knows it’ll be a hard challenge. If he’s winning at World Tour level, why wouldn’t we take him?”
Cavendish, who worked with Ellingworth at British Cycling, is chasing Belgian Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins and is set to race at the UAE Tour later this month.
“In terms of his health, we’ve now ticked that box,” Ellingworth added. “He had really struggled on and off. That’s what that virus does, it limits you, you can’t go deep, you can’t back up day after day.
“But he’s been training well for four months so that’s good. Then you have the race condition, which has not been there for a while, but we’ve ticked that box now.”
This year’s Tour runs from June 27-July 19.