Cavendish battling illness leading up to World Championships

Mark Cavendish’s fitness for next weekend’s World Championship road race is in doubt after his Dimension Data team confirmed he has been suffering from an intestinal infection.

The 31-year-old Manxman is the bookmakers’ favourite for victory on a flat, 257.5km course in Doha, Qatar, on Sunday, October 16. However, he abandoned the Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli on September 25 and then pulled out of both Sparkassen Munsterland Giro and Paris-Bourges.

Dimension Data sports director Rolf Aldag told “At the GP Beghelli he abandoned, totally empty, after 70km. Then he went to the doctor and didn’t touch his bike for six days because of an intestinal infection. That makes it tough for the worlds.”

Cavendish, who is hoping to win the world road race title for the second time, is pencilled in for the Paris-Tours one-day race on Sunday.

Aldag added: “He can turn these things around really fast.”