Ongar's Mark Cavendish opts not to defend British road crown as a precaution ahead of Tour de France

National champion jersey-wearing Mark Cavendish celebrates winning the final stage of last year's Tour of Britain. Picture: Action Images

National champion jersey-wearing Mark Cavendish celebrates winning the final stage of last year's Tour of Britain. Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport
Last updated
by , Group Sports Editor

Mark Cavendish will not defend his British Road Race title on Sunday as he continues his recovery from bronchitis.

The Ongar star has taken the decision as a precautionary measure ahead of the Tour de France, which will pass close to his Essex home during Stage Three from Cambridge to London on Monday, July 7.

The star sprinter contracted the illness towards the end of the Tour of Switzerland and will continue with training in Italy ahead of the start of ‘Le Tour’ in Leeds.

"I'm sad because, as current champion, I would really like to defend the title," Cavendish told his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team’s website. "I would have liked to honor the race and this jersey that I wore for all of 2014 so far, which allowed me to represent my country proudly. I think it's wiser, however, to not take any risks and focus on absolute, 100 per cent recovery, and continue to train in function of the Tour de France.

“I talked with the race organisers and they understood my situation perfectly. I wish them well, and also wish good luck to all riders at the race on Sunday trying to fight for this jersey I've been so proud to wear."

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