Mark Cavendish has been diagnosed with glandular fever and a date for his return to racing is not yet known.
The 30-times Tour de France stage winner has not raced since the Milan-San Remo one-day race on 18 March. Initially his absence was attributed to pain in his right ankle, due to overuse. Now Team Dimension Data have announced he has also been suffering “unexplained fatigue” and analysis of a recent blood sample diagnosed his illness.
Team Dimension Data said in a statement: “Recent blood work has revealed that Mark Cavendish suffers from infectious mononucleosis caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.”
Infectious mononucleosis is also known as glandular fever.
With the Tour once again Cavendish’s primary objective for the year, he will have a gradual return to action and his race programme will be altered.
The Tour begins in Dusseldorf on 1 July and concludes in Paris on 23 July, with Cavendish bidding to move closer to Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins. The team statement added: “The main goal for Cavendish remains the Tour de France this year.”
Team Dimension Data doctor Jarrad van Zuydam said: “Mark has been experiencing some unexplained fatigue during training. Unfortunately, there is no effective specific treatment against the virus but rest will be required to aid his recovery.
“It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of when we can expect him back at full fitness but we are hopeful of a significant improvement of his symptoms over the next two weeks.”