Mark Cavendish has cancelled all of his upcoming races after being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus – more commonly known as glandular fever. His team Dimension Data say they are hopeful he will be back in time for this summer’s Tour de France.
The 31 year-old former world road race champion had a stunning season in 2016, returning to something approaching his best form as he claimed a world Madison title alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins in London last March, four stages of the Tour de France in July including the first stage in northern France which won him the yellow jersey for the first time in his career, Olympic omnium silver in August and second place at the world road championships in Qatar in the autumn.
Cavendish was apparently at a loss to explain his lack of form at the Milan San-Remo classic last month and has not raced since then after picking up what his team described as an “overuse ankle injury”. The illness was picked up as part of the UCI’s blood testing programme.
Really gutted to miss and have missed some of my favourite races of the season, due to an ongoing injury. Thanks for everyone's support x https://t.co/lUGyWpGWjD
— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) April 5, 2017
The Telegraph Cycling Podcast spoke to Cavendish last weekend who said he was allowed to ride but not to push his heart rate over 110bpm. He has cancelled all races for the moment, including next month’s Tour of California.
“The main goal for Cavendish remains the Tour de France this year,” said his team Dimension Data in a statement. “Our African Team and all its partners are in full support of the Manxman and his ability to bounce back from this unfortunate set back.”
�� NEW EPISODE: News of Mark Cavendish's illness, analysis of Paris-Roubaix and an interview with Callum Skinner: https://t.co/CTOH3FGcBy
— The Cycling Podcast (@cycling_podcast) April 12, 2017
The team’s doctor Jarrad Van Zuydam added: “Mark has been experiencing some unexplained fatigue during training. Recent blood analysis has revealed him to have infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein Barr Virus.
“Unfortunately, there is no effective specific treatment against the virus but rest will be required to aid his recovery. His training load and symptoms will be monitored very carefully and he will make a gradual, step-wise return to full training and racing.
“It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of when we can expect him back at full fitness but we are hopeful of a significant improvement of his symptoms over the next two weeks.”