Cavendish makes surprise Tour de France return

(Reuters) – Mark Cavendish was named in the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team for the Tour de France on Monday, days after team manager Patrick Lefevere said the British sprinter would remain at home for the Grand Tour starting on Saturday.

Sam Bennett was set to feature in the race and defend his green jersey but has failed to recover from a knee injury, with Cavendish taking his place and looking to add to his tally of 30 Tour de France stage wins.

“I am delighted to be going back to the Tour de France with Deceuninck–Quick-Step,” Cavendish said in a team statement.

“Obviously, the circumstances with Sam could be better – he had a special Tour last year and I am sad for him not being able to defend his green jersey. But at the same time, I am excited to be going back to a race that I have such an affinity with and where I have so much history.”

Cavendish, back with Deceuninck-Quick-Step six years after leaving the Belgian outfit, will be racing at the Tour for the first time in three years.

He has been in resurgent form this year, winning four stages at the Tour of Turkey followed by claiming the fifth stage at the Tour of Belgium.

“Needless to say, I’m very disappointed to not be able to defend my green jersey at this year’s Tour de France,” Sam Bennett said.

“I had a very minor incident during training a couple of weeks ago, which affected my knee. While the injury I sustained is very short-term, it impacted my training for the biggest bike race in the world all too much and left me without enough time to be race fit. Le Tour deserves me at my best and it would do my team, and myself, an injustice to race in my current condition. I wish the whole Wolfpack a successful three weeks on the road of France.”

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