Mark Cavendish sees signs of improvement after hard week at Tour of California
18 May 2019 03:34
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) was a man of few words at the stage 6 summit finish on Mt. Baldy at the Amgen Tour of California on Friday. Shivering from the cold as he wrestled with putting on warmer layers, surrounded by riders that finished in the gruppetto and standing at a dead end road full of journalists, he offered a few remarks about his performance at the seven-day race set to conclude in Pasadena on Saturday. "Yes, I feel OK, thank you. I've gotten through it," Cavendish told Cyclingnews, referring to his recovery from a lengthy struggle with the Epstein-Barr Virus. "It's been a hard week," he added.ADVERTISEMENT To say that Cavendish has had a challenge at this edition of the Tour of California would be an understatement, and not just for him, but for many riders. It was considered one of the more challenging editions of its 14-year history, covering almost 21,000 metres of elevation gain, with 25 King of the Mountain (KOM) climbs and a summit finish on Mt. Baldy. In addition, more than half of the stages were over 200km. Doctors first diagnosed Cavendish with Epstein-Barr in 2017, but a recent blood test showed that he was below the threshold for being sick with the virus. He came into the Tour of California upbeat about his health, and told the media at the opening press conference that he was looking forward to being able to challenge for victories again. Having raced five stage races this spring, which includes not finishing Paris-Nice, he was clear in his interviews that he was not in top condition for the Tour of California. However, he was optimistic that he might be able to sprint for victory in Sacramento on stage 1 – a stage finish he has won at on three previous occasions.
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