Tour de France 2019: Mark Cavendish 'heartbroken' by omission
Mark Cavendish says he is "heartbroken" to miss the Tour de France for the first time since 2007, after being left out by Team Dimension Data.
Britain's 2011 world road race champion has won 30 Tour stages - four fewer than Eddy Merckx's record.
The 34-year-old has struggled with illness since April 2017 but said he was in "the perfect place" to race.
"As I have done for my entire career, I targeted a specific time to be at peak form," tweeted Cavendish.
"This has pretty much always resulted in me hitting my goals or coming damn close. I'm absolutely heartbroken by the decision that means I won't be at Le Tour this year.
"After a long, difficult fightback from trying to compete for the whole of last season with Epstein-Barr Virus and after following a specific training program to peak in July, I feel I was in the perfect place.
"Though I won't be there, as always I'll be supporting my team-mates with all I have."
Cavendish, who in 2011 was the first Briton to win the Tour's green points jersey, was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr Virus - which causes glandular fever - in April 2017.
He resumed racing two months after his initial diagnosis but broke his collarbone as he crashed out of the 2017 Tour de France.
In August 2018, Team Dimension Data said Cavendish was taking a further break from the sport "due to the presence of Epstein-Barr virus".
Cavendish raced in last month's Tour of Slovenia, as he has done since 2016 for his Tour de France warm-up, and finished 22nd at the British National Championships road race on Sunday.
His best result this season was third on stage three of the Tour of Turkey in April.
Cavendish has been replaced by Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo, who won a stage at the Tour of Slovenia.
Steve Cummings is the only Briton in Dimension Data's eight-man squad for the Tour, which starts in Brussels on Saturday.
The 38-year-old, who won the 2016 Tour of Britain, has won two Tour de France stages, both coming after he was involved in breakaways.
Team Dimension Data Tour de France 2019 team: Edvald Boasson Hagen, Stephen Cummings, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Michael Valgren, Roman Kreuziger, Giacomo Nizzolo, Ben King Lars Bak