Cavendish re-ups with Dimension Data for ‘new leadership role’

The British sprinter has been hampered by illnesses the past two seasons.

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PARIS (AFP) — British cycling star Mark Cavendish has extended his contract with Dimension Data despite currently being out of action with the Epstein-Barr virus, the South African team announced this week.

Cavendish has only won twice in the last two years, with stage victories at the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Tours, He joined Dimension Data from Quick-Step Floors in 2016.

“It seems that I’ve always made a career out of comebacks and I’m sure that 2019 is going to be no different after the couple of tough years with illness,” said the 33-year-old sprinter, who will take on a “new leadership role” with the team.

“I know that I’m on the right track to come back and dominate in the sport again.”

Cavendish won four Tour de France stages in his first year with Dimension Data to take his overall tally to 30, four behind Eddy Merckx’s all-time record.

“As a team we believe in dreams and doing significant things both on and off the bike,” team principal Douglas Ryder said.

“I’m thrilled that he has agreed to continue with us and take on additional leadership responsibilities.”

Cavendish, also a former world road race champion, has not raced since late July. The following month, Dimension Data said the Manxman would be taking an indefinite break from the sport to recover from the Epstein-Barr virus, which also affected him the year before.

He missed the time cut on stage 11 of this year’s Tour de France and was eliminated from the race.

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