Mark Cavendish has recently been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr but according to his team boss Doug Ryder, it is unlikely to keep him out of this year’s Tour de France.
Cavendish is the second member of the Dimension Data team to suffer from the virus this year. The Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most common causes of glandular fever.
Jaco Venter was diagnosed with the virus in January but he is now back racing and last week Cavendish said that he hopes to follow in Venter’s lead as he continues to target Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour stage wins.
At present Cavendish is four behind Merckx’s record and Doug Ryder is hopeful that the star sprinter will recover in time for the July 1 Grand Depart in Dusseldorf.
Speaking to CyclingNews Ryder said, “Worst-case scenario is that he does the Tour de Suisse (June 10-18) or the Criterium du Dauphine (June 4-11) and then the Tour. That’s our worst case scenario now. Of course the real worst case is that he doesn’t ride the Tour. That would be horrific for all of us and for him, of course. We hope he’s just not that unlucky.”
He went on to say that Cavendish is looking and feeling much better and that they are carefully monitoring the situation with weekly blood tests.
“We are hoping that it doesn’t affect Mark’s Tour but of course racing is racing. You never know how long it might take but we believe we’ve picked it up early like we did with Ventor. He was off for three or four weeks, and he’s not at 100 per cent condition yet but he’s getting there. Maybe Mark will also have that timescale.”
After the diagnosis was made public Cavendish tweeted, “Sad to be out of action, but hopefully I can manage this effectively and be back in a few weeks like my team-mate Jaco Venter was.”