Mark Cavendish: Tour de France selection overruled by Team Dimension Data owner

Mark Cavendish
Cavendish said he was "heartbroken" to be missing the race

Mark Cavendish would have raced in this year's Tour de France if Team Dimension Data owner Doug Ryder had not overruled performance manager Rolf Aldag.

The British rider, who has won 30 stages - four behind the record held by Eddy Merckx - is missing the Tour for the first time since his debut in 2007.

"There's no secret about it. I wanted to have him here. I called eight names and Mark was included," said Aldag.

"The team owner has the right to overrule me, which he did."

Aldag added: "It's within my responsibility to select a team and I think he would have suited our strategy, but ultimately it was a team owner decision.

"I thought for the stages that he'd be a good choice, but we'll never know."

Ryder said the decision had been made by Dimension Data's "high performance team".

He added: "It's sad he isn't here. Mark is an icon of this race.

"But this is the hardest route in the four years we have been competing at the Tour, so based on our strategy we feel this is the best team for this course.

"There were differences of opinions in the high performance group but there was no change of mind."

When the decision was announced, Cavendish said he was "heartbroken" to be missing the race. The 34-year-old has spent months building his fitness after suffering with the Epstein-Barr Virus 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," he tweeted.

His Dimension Data team-mate Steve Cummings said on Friday it was a "big call" to leave out the sprinter and that he was "sad" to not have him on the squad.

The Manx Missile's wife Peta reacted to the decision on Twitter, writing: "The truth always comes out in the end. Cowards can't hide forever."

Meanwhile, Cavendish "cheered himself up" by going for a ride with a young fan who was disappointed not to be able to watch his hero in this year's race on TV.

The 2019 Tour de France started on Saturday, with 176 riders (22 teams of eight) setting off from the Belgian capital Brussels. The three-week race will end in Paris on Sunday, 28 July.

Top Stories