Cavendish's return to cycling delayed as recovery is taking longer than expected

BRUSSELS (AP) — British cyclist Mark Cavendish has delayed his return to racing as he struggles with health issues in what is expected to be his final professional season.

Cavendish has not raced since he abandoned Milano-Torino on March 13, and was expected to return on Wednesday at the Scheldeprijs, a Belgian event he has won three times.

Instead, his Astana Qazaqstan Team said on Tuesday his racing program “will undergo some changes due to sickness and the subsequent recovery period.”

Cavendish’s next planned races have changed to the Tour of Turkey in the second half of April and the Tour of Hungary in May.

Astana Qazaqstan did not specify Cavendish’s health issues.

The British sprinter reversed his decision to retire at the end of last season in hope that he will have another go at becoming the outright record-holder for most career stage wins at the Tour de France.

Cavendish equaled Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins during the 2021 Tour, 13 years after his first success, and came close to a 35th in the seventh stage of the 2023 edition.

“After being sick for several weeks following the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Torino, Mark Cavendish has resumed his training, continuing his preparation for his biggest goals of the season,” said Vasilis Anastopoulos, the head of performance at Astana Qazaqstan.

Cavendish, the most successful sprinter in Tour history, crashed during the eighth stage last summer, breaking his right collarbone.

He’s won the Tour de France best sprinter’s green jersey twice. He has won stages at all three Grand Tours — Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Spanish Vuelta — and was the world champion in 2011.


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