• Cycling

Illness rules Cavendish out of National Road Championships

ESPN staff
June 26, 2014
Mark Cavendish is focused on making a full recovery for the Tour de France © Getty Images

Mark Cavendish will not be defending his road race title at the National Road Championships on Sunday after pulling out of the event with bronchitis.

Cavendish won the title a year ago after sprinting to victory in Glasgow. However, the 29-year-old has decided not to take part in the event - which takes part in Monmouthshire in Wales - and has opted instead to focus on making a full recovery for the Tour de France, which begins on July 5.

"I'm sad because, as current champion, I would really like to defend the title," Cavendish said. "I would have liked to honour the race and this jersey that I wore for all of 2014 so far, which allowed me to represent my country proudly.

"It's wiser, however, to not take any risks and focus on absolute, 100% recovery, and continue to train in preparation for the Tour de France. I talked with the race organisers and they understood my situation perfectly."

His team Omega Pharma Quick-Step said in a statement: "The current British champion is busy with a bout of bronchitis that began during the last stages of the Tour de Suisse. As a precautionary measure Mark will not participate on Sunday and will continue training in Italy prior to the Tour de France."

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