Mark Cavendish left devastated at Tour de France axe as bosses disagree on selection

MARK CAVENDISH is devastated after being denied a record-breaking tilt at the Tour de France after a disagreement between bosses.

His team Dimension Data stunned British cycling fans by leaving the iconic sprinter out of the biggest race in the world – where Cavendish, 34, is the second-highest stage winner of all time.

Despite calls from within the team to pick him, the final call to axe Cavendish was made by principal Doug Ryder.

SunSport understands Ryder overruled performance director Rolf Aldag, who backed the 2011 road world champ.

Eddy Merckx is still the most prolific Tour rider ever with 34 stage wins, while Cavendish has 30.

Battling back to form, the Manx Missile was left under no illusion by his team it would be a ruthless selection for the three-week Tour starting in Brussels on Saturday.

But Cavendish has been left gutted after being dropped, with several stages favourable to sprint finishes.

He tweeted: "Well what can I say? I'm absolutely heart-broken by the decision that means I won't be at @LeTour this year.

"As I have done my entire career, I targeted a specific time to be at peak form.

"After following a specific training programme to peak in July, I feel I was in the perfect place.

"Though I won't be there, as always I'll be supporting my team-mates with all I have."

Dimension Data named their team without even mentioning their most successful rider.

He sat out last year’s race after contracting Epstein-Barr virus and rode less races this season in order to get up to his best.

Cavendish feels he has been finding form in training as the year has gone on, even though that has not been reflected in race results – and was adamant that would show at the Tour.

He also went on an altitude training camp with pal Bernie Eisel in Austria recently to sharpen his legs.

His last top-10 finish came in stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire two months ago, where he rolled into Selby eighth.

It was three years ago that Cavendish won four stages and then in 2017 he crashed out, breaking his collarbone after being run off the road by Peter Sagan.

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.

Dimension Data did pick Brit veteran Steve Cummings, 38, and sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo, 30, to go for sprint stages.

But with four-time winner Chris Froome, 34, out of the race due to his horrific crash, defending champ Geraint Thomas, 33, will lead the UK charge with Ineos.


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Bury twins Adam and Simon Yates, 26, are also tipped to challenge for honours with Mitchelton-Scott.

A Dimension Data spokesman said: “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 make up with our team principal, Douglas Ryder, making the final decision on it.”

A couple of easy days after Tour of Slovenia, then back at it with Bernie Eisel in Austria. Can honestly say @alpinhotel_pacheiner is perfect for altitude training. Or for just relaxing! Wonderful, friendly hotel, with great food and in the most beautiful setting. ??☀️?‍♂️

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Getting the race legs back in @tourofsloveniaofficial after a heavy training month. Great work from @teamdidata & brilliant ride for 2nd from @giacomonizzolo ✋ . ? @mariostiehl

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