Mark Cavendish’s chances of being selected for this year’s Tour de France have been hampered by the coronavirus, says his team manager Rod Ellingworth.
Cavendish, 35, has 30 Tour stage wins – four behind the record held by Eddy Merckx – but his last two seasons have been plagued by injury and illness.
With races postponed since March, he has had no chance to prove his fitness.
“He doesn’t have automatic selection and he doesn’t want it,” said Bahrain-McLaren team principal Ellingworth.
“He doesn’t want it just handed to him. But we made an agreement that if he was winning races that would be enough to go to the Tour.
“Unfortunately that changes, and with so little racing beforehand it cuts his chances of being able to prove he’s back at a decent level.”
Cavendish joined Bahrain-McLaren in October 2019 on a one-year deal, joining forces again with former coach Ellingworth, who spent almost a decade at Team Sky.
Ellingworth’s team will target the yellow jersey in the rescheduled Tour – set to take place from 29 August-20 September – but he says that does not mean there is no room for Cavendish in the line-up, particularly with the first stage expected to finish in a bunch sprint in Nice.
“Technically he’s one of the best sprinters in the world, and if he’s got the form he’s proved many times he can do it with or without a lead-out train,” he said.
“Mark brings a lot of value to the team, just in terms of his mindset and his goal-setting.”