Mark Cavendish says it's 'nice to be back in the mix' after race return

Mark Cavendish
Cavendish has 30 Tour de France stage wins putting him second on the all-time list

Mark Cavendish has raced for the first time since being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus for a second time.

The Manx man battled scorching heat to finish eighth in Sunday's opening stage of the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.

Speaking on Team Dimension Data's social media page, he said it was "nice to be back in the peloton."

"I haven't been in a bike race for six months - and it's almost a year since I was racing so it's nice to be back in the mix,external-link" the 33-year-old said.

Team Dimension Data said it was "great" to see Cavendish competing again.

Cavendish continued: "It was so hot. I looked around and I wasn't the only one suffering but it was nice to be back in the peloton."

The Isle of Man racer, whose 30 Tour de France stage wins put him second on the all-time list, was first diagnosed with EBV in April 2017, but returned to action at the Tour of Slovenia two months later.

Since then, the Manxman has been beset by injuries, breaking his collar bone in a crash at the 2017 Tour de France before suffering injuries in two crashes in March which forced him to withdraw from April's Commonwealth Games.

His second Epstein-Barr diagnosis came in August 2018 and led his team to announce a "period of total rest."

The Vuelta a San Juan is held over seven days.‏