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Cavendish to debut with Bahrain McLaren at February's Saudi Tour

Cavendish to debut with Bahrain McLaren at February's Saudi Tour

09/01/2020 at 13:03Updated 09/01/2020 at 14:35

Mark Cavendish will begin his first season as part of the Bahrain McLaren team at the Saudi Tour at the beginning of February, it has been confirmed.

Cavendish is currently on a training camp with his new team in Spain as he prepares to begin his spring schedule which will also take in the Tour of Oman and the UAE Tour.

Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo will be next on the 34-year-old's race schedule after he returns to Europe from the Gulf.

Following that, it is widely thought that the sprinter will embark on the long build-up to July's Tour de France, where he will attempt to chase down Eddy Merckx's record tally of 34 stage wins. Cavendish currently sits on 30, with his last victory having come in 2016.

Cavendish made the move to Bahrain McLaren during the close-season after struggling in recent years under the effects of Epstein-Barr virus at Team Dimension Data, and missed last year's Tour de France.

He will link up this spring with his new general manager at Bahrain McLaren Rod Ellingworth, with the pair reuniting for the first time following their collaboration at British Cycling and at Team Sky in 2012, and last year the 47-year-old talked up Cavendish's prospects of returning to his former best in new surroundings.

"It's a challenge but I believe that he can win," Ellingworth told Cyclingnews in 2019. "That's why he's here.

" "I've been really straight with him and he's not here on mate's rates. I've been really clear and told him that he's here to do a job. "

"With everyone on the team, I want them to be clear and know why they're here.

"Some are developing riders, some are here to help to win and some are winners. I've told Mark very clearly that he's a bike rider and you're either here to win or help to win."