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Cavendish to make 2016 debut at Cadel Evans race

SYDNEY (AFP) — British sprint great Mark Cavendish will ride in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Australia next month, organizers said Monday.

The 30-year-old Olympian, former world champion, and winner of 26 Tour de France stages will race for the first time with his new squad Dimension Data, which was recently awarded a UCI WorldTour license.

Cavendish has chosen the Evans race, which takes place in Victoria, as his only event in Australia this southern summer. This means he will not ride in the Santos Tour Down Under near Adelaide in the same month.

Cavendish will line up with two stars of Australian racing, Rohan Dennis of BMC Racing and Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge.

“I am looking forward to starting the 2016 season in Victoria and racing for the first time with Team Dimension Data at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race,” Cavendish said in a statement.

“I’ve heard great things about the challenging Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race course and I’m especially excited to visit Geelong again — last time I was there was for the 2010 UCI Road World Championships.”

The Evans event will feature nine UCI WorldTeams (BMC Racing, Orica-GreenEdge, Sky, Katusha, Lotto-Soudal, Trek Factory Racing, LottoNL-Jumbo, IAM Cycling, and Dimension Data), four Pro Continental teams (UnitedHealthcare, ONE Pro Cycling, Drapac Professional Cycling, Novo Nordisk) and the Australian National Team.

The event is named in honor of Cadel Evans, the first Australian to win the Tour de France in 2011.