Sprint star Mark Cavendish will skip the Giro d’Italia in order to race in this year’s Amgen Tour of California, his team announced Wednesday.
Cavendish, whose season got a late start due to a dental infection, won four stages in last year’s Giro and another six in the Tour de France, including a presitigious win on the Champs-Élysées.
“We believe Mark will be very strong at the Tour de France and the balance of the season,” HTC Columbia manager Bob Stapleton said in a statement released Wednesday. “He will join the team in California and we are very optimistic about his chances for success there.”
Stapleton said that the week-long Tour of California (May 16-23) will be better-suited to Cavendish’s level of preparation than would be the the Giro (May 8 to 30).
“Infections resulting from dental work in December undermined his training and delayed his start of the season,” Stapleton said.
“The Tour of California is an event whose prestige is growing every year since 2006, “said Bob Stapleton, manager of the team based San Luis Obispo … California.
Stapleton said Cavendish, while in the hunt for individual stage wins, will ride in support of Michael Rogers’ efforts to secure the overall.
Stapleton added that the team’s depth still gives it good options for the Giro.
“We have two of the best sprinters in the world,” said Stapleton, referring to Cavendish and his German teammate Andre Greipel. “We will have strong teams in both races.”