It is understood the decision to omit Cavendish, who has 30 stage wins to his name, was down to team principal Doug Ryder
Mark Cavendish has been left devastated after failing to be selected for the Tour de France.
For the first time since 2007, cycling’s showpiece race will not feature Cavendish after Dimension Data’s team principal Doug Ryder overruled performance director Rolf Aldag and opted to omit the British rider from their eight-man team.
The highly-respected Aldag is supposed to be responsible for selection and had wanted the Manxman – known to many as the ‘fastest man on two wheels’ – to be part of the line-up but, much to the shock of Cavendish, Ryder took a different view.
The move is akin to Ed Woodward doing the same to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United and denies Cavendish, with 30 Tour de France stage wins to his name, the chance to move closer to Eddy Merckx’s record of 34.
When initially announcing their line-up, there was no reference to the absence of 34-year-old Cavendish, who has struggled with illness since being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus in 2017.
A further statement read: “Selection for our Tour squad was a highly competitive process and one in which a panel weighed up the options provided to us not only by Mark but indeed all of our riders
“As you’d expect among a selection panel, there were a number of different preferences of the final squad makeup with our team principal, Doug Ryder, making the final decision on it.
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“This selection is one the team believes will be best suited to meet the goals set out for the race.”
At the 2018 race, Cavendish was still suffering the effects of the Epstein-Barr virus and finished outside the time limit on the tough Alpine leg to La Rosière on stage 11, while the year before that his tour ended early when he fractured his shoulder after Peter Sagan elbowed him off his bike meters from the finish line on stage four.
Cavendish had been altitude training in Austria, specifically for the 2019 Tour, tailoring his program around being ready to peak for what is three weeks of gruelling racing beginning on 6 July in Brussels.
Considering how much racing in the Tour means to him, the move to omit him from the Tour is devastating blow as he is thought to feel as healthy as he did in 2016 when he won four stages and wore both the yellow and green jerseys.
In 2011, Cavendish won the final stage of the Tour in Paris to become Britain’s first winner of the green jersey, awarded to the race’s best sprinter.
Speaking in October, he reiterated the magnitude of racing in the Tour.
“It means everything for every bike rider, even guys who don’t ride the road,” he said. “Professional track riders at one point or another dreamt of riding the Tour de France.
“For me it’s everything, it’s my career. It’s the only reason I still ride my bike.”
Team Dimension Data Tour de France 2019 team
Cavendish has won 30 Tour stages in his career, but has not been selected for the 2019 race. Here’s who Dimension Data picked…
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Stephen Cummings, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Michael Valgren, Roman Kreuziger, Giacomo Nizzolo, Ben King Lars Bak