(Reuters) – Sprinter Mark Cavendish was named as one of the three Britons who will be racing for Team Dimension Data at the Tour de France next month, the South African-based team confirmed on Monday.
Cavendish, 32, only returned to full training six weeks ago and has raced just once since after three months out with glandular fever.
“If I am being totally honest, had this not been the Tour de France we may have collectively taken a different approach with regards to my inclusion,” he said in a statement.
“But I feel that I owe it to myself, the team, our sponsors and most importantly to the Tour itself given its history and everything that it stands for — as well as the emotional attachment I have for it — to give it my best and to put everything I have into trying to help the team.”
The sprinter known as the Manx Missile has recorded 30 Tour de France stage victories, four behind the record holder Eddy Merckx.
Cavendish will be joined by English duo Steve Cummings and Scott Thwaites, who will be making his debut on the Tour starting on July 1.
South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, who is set to make his third consecutive Tour start, will be joined by compatriot Jaco Venter.
Also selected are Bernhard Eisel (Austria), Mark Renshaw (Australia), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) and Serge Pauwels (Belgium).
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)