Mark Cavendish's sickness problems continue after being ruled out of Classic Brugge-De Panne

British sprinter was initially slated to race in Belgium after pulling out of Milano-Torino last week

Clock12:22, Wednesday 20th March 2024
Mark Cavendish has been hit by sickness and a lack of form for most of the early season

© Getty Images

Mark Cavendish has been hit by sickness and a lack of form for most of the early season

Mark Cavendish decided not to race the Classic Brugge-De Panne on Wednesday due to illness, with no confirmation at present as to his next races.

The 34-time Tour de France stage winner abandoned Milano-Torino a week ago and was set to return in De Panne, but he was deemed not to have sufficiently recovered.

“He’s sick, so it was not possible to take to the start,” Astana Qazaqstan director Stefano Zanini told GCN at the start of the race in Bruges.

“It’s not easy riding Milano-Torino when you are sick, but here it’s impossible. The Belgian races are very different. They are hard when you are in 100% condition. For sure it was impossible to take the start here.”

The exact nature of Cavendish illness is unclear. His team indicated that he pulled out midway through Milano-Torino due to ‘gastrointestinal discomfort’. However, at the start of the Italian race Cavendish himself indicated cold-like symptoms.

"Like many people, I’m a little bit sick now,” he said. “It’s okay and hopefully I can hang on today and in the next few days with the sickness. You know when you have a sore throat and stuff like that. The cold is coming, that’s for sure.”

On Wednesday, Zanini indicated that it was a respiratory system problem, but “nothing special”.

The team have not confirmed whether Cavendish will line up at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. The next big target on his radar would be the sprint-friendly Scheldeprijs, a race he has won three times, which takes place on 3 April.

“The next race for Mark, for the moment we don’t know. It’s better that he gets well again, so for the moment we don’t know.”

Cavendish’s lead-out man Michael Mørkøv also fell ill the day before Classic Brugge-De Panne. The Dane came down with a fever and there was no time to source a replacement rider, so Astana started one rider short.

“Michael was not good yesterday but today already he is a bit better, so maybe for Gent-Wevelgem [on Sunday] he’ll be ok,” Zanini said.

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