Mark Cavendish passed fit to start Tour of Qatar
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mark Cavendish passed fit to start Tour of Qatar

by Ben Atkins at 5:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Qatar, Injury
World champion “not 100% healthy” but cleared to race

mark cavendishMark Cavendish has been passed fit by Team Sky’s medical team, and has lined up at the start of the Tour of Qatar, his first race of the season. The World champion had been suffering from a fever, apparently picked up on the flight over, and spent most of yesterday in bed; he missed the day’s training ride with his new team, but has taken the start this morning.

“We’re all delighted that Mark has been able to battle back from the bug he picked up coming out here and it will be a real boost to the rest of the guys to know that he’ll be starting today,” said Team Sky’s directeur sportif Steven de Jongh.

Cavendish joined Team Sky over the winter after the HTC-Highroad team – where he had spent his entire career to date – folded at the end of last season. Qatar will be his first race with the new team, as he builds his season towards the defence of his Tour de France green jersey and a bid for Olympic gold in London.

“At the 1st startline of the season here at [Tour of Qatar],” the Manxman wrote on his Twitter feed. “Not 100% healthy, but conditions don't seem too bad. [Team Sky's] in good spirits.”

While he is not entirely over the fever that saw him spend his first day in the Middle East in bed, he was under constant supervision from Team Sky’s medical team, and they are satisfied that he will be able to race.

“Our medical team have done a fantastic job in looking after him and Mark has followed their advice to the letter,” de Jongh explained. “Clearly, he’s not going to be at his best in the next few days but we’re hoping he’ll get stronger with every passing stage.

“We’ll continue to keep a very close eye on him but hopefully he’s over the worst of it now.”

Despite not being fully healthy, Cavendish will certainly hope for better luck than he had in Qatar last year, where he slid off on the sandy roads of the opening prologue and compounded injuries that he had sustained in an earlier crash at the Tour Down Under.

In his only other appearance in the desert race, he picked up two stage victories, which augured his most successful season to date.


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