Mark Cavendish has been named on the long-list for the Tour de France by his team, Omega Pharma- Quick Step, and it seems all but certain only injury will stop the Ongar star from taking his place on the start line in Leeds in just under three weeks time.
The Belgian team have announced a 13-strong list for the world’s biggest cycle race, which starts on Saturday, July 5 and travels through west Essex and East London during Stage Three from Cambridge to the finish on The Mall two days later, but have stated this includes one reserve, Belgian rider Tom Boonen.
Sport and development manager Rolf Aldag told Omega Pharma’s website the team’s final nine will be confirmed after this week’s Tour of Switzerland and added: “...everybody knows our main objectives will be the stage wins with Cavendish and a new experience in the Tour with (Michal) Kwiatkowski to make another improvement, a new step in his career.
“We will build our team around those two guys to be a competitive and strong team in order to try and reach our goals.”
The ‘Manx Missile’ is the third most successful rider in Tour history in terms of individual stage wins with 25 to date and has claimed the green jersey for the top points rider once in 2011.
Omega Pharma’s Tour de France long-list is: Jan Bakelants (Belgium); Tom Boonen (Belgium – reserve); Mark Cavendish (Great Britain); Thomas De Gendt (Belgium); Michal Golas (Poland); Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland); Tony Martin (Germany); Alessandro Pettachi (Italy); Mark Renshaw (Australia); Gert Steegmans (Belgium); Niki Terpstra (Netherlands); Matteo Trentin (Italy); Martin Velits (Slovakia).