• Mark Cavendish hopes to add to his career Tour tally. (Getty)Source: Getty
Despite having battled glandular fever, star sprinter Mark Cavendish will compete at the 2017 Tour de France for Team Dimension Data.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Reuters
27 Jun 2017 - 8:03 AM  UPDATED 27 Jun 2017 - 5:30 PM

Cavendish, 32, only returned to full training six weeks ago and has raced just once since after three months out with glandular fever.

His Australian lead-out partner Mark Renshaw will also be at the start line in Dusseldorf, though he too will begin well short of race fitness after recovering from a crash.

"If I am being totally honest, had this not been the Tour de France we may have collectively taken a different approach with regards to my inclusion," he said in a statement.

"But I feel that I owe it to myself, the team, our sponsors and most importantly to the Tour itself given its history and everything that it stands for - as well as the emotional attachment I have for it - to give it my best and to put everything I have into trying to help the team."

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The sprinter known as the Manx Missile has recorded 30 Tour de France stage victories, four behind the record holder Eddy Merckx.

While Cavendish may be underdone, his experience at proving the doubters wrong was on show in 2016 when he won four stages, forcing rivals like Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) to following his wheel.

And with Renshaw again the last man navigating Cavendish to the line, the other fast men will have to be wary. Combined the pair have proved to be the craftiest sprinting combination of their generation. Another Tour stage win bringing him closer to Merckx can never be ruled out.

Combined the pair have proved to be the craftiest sprint pairing of their generation. Another Tour stage win bringing him closer to Merckx can never be ruled out.

Cavendish and Renshaw will be joined by Steve Cummings and Scott Thwaites, who will be making his debut on the Tour starting on July 1. Janse van Rensburg is set to make his third consecutive Tour start. Jaco Venter is also in the lineup.

Dimension Data for the 2017 Tour de France.

Janse van Rensburg, Jaco Venter, Bernhard Eisel, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Serge Pauwels complete the Dimension Data Tour de France lineup.