Cavendish out of National Road Championships with illness

Mark Cavendish insists he is focused on getting fully fit for the forthcoming Tour de France after pulling out of this weekend’s British Cycling National Road Championships in Wales following a bout of bronchitis.

The 29-year-old is the current British road race champion following his sprint finish win in Glasgow 12 months ago and was aiming to regain his jersey in Monmouthshire in Sunday’s race.

Earlier this month the Manx rider competed in the Tour of Switzerland, picking up victory in stage four.

However during the latter stages of the tour he contracted a bout of bronchitis and with it not clearing suitably ahead of the weekend, the Omega Pharma-Quick-Step rider has opted to rest up before the start of the Tour de France.

The race begins in Yorkshire on July 5 with Cavendish, winner of the green jersey in 2011, looking to add to his 25 stage victories by winning the opening sprint finish in Harrogate.

"I'm sad because, as current champion, I would really like to defend the title," he said.

“I think it's wiser, however, to not take any risks and focus on absolute, 100 percent recovery, and continue to train in function of the Tour de France.

"I would have liked to honor the race and this jersey that I wore for all of 2014 so far, which allowed me to represent my country proudly.

“I talked with the race organizers and they understood my situation perfectly. I wish them well, and also wish good luck to all riders at the race on Sunday trying to fight for this jersey I've been so proud to wear."

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