The British speedster is loading up on sprint-friendly races across the Middle East, with a season debut at the new Tour of Saudi Arabia race (February 4-8), the Tour of Oman (February 11-16) and the UAE Tour (February 23-29). Cavendish will open his European calendar at Tirreno-Adriatico before hitting Milan-Sanremo, which he won in 2009.
Team officials say coaches and trainers will assess Cavendish’s opening performances before deciding which northern classics he might race and finalize his approach to the Tour de France.
Cavendish boasts 30 stage wins at the Tour, and dreams of equaling the all-time record of 34 held by Eddy Merckx.
Cavendish, 35 in May, last won a Tour stage in 2016, when he took four stages before leaving the race for preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games, where he later won silver in the omnium. Since then, Cavendish has struggled with health problems and injuries that saw him win only once in 2017 and 2018, and go winless in 2019, a season that also saw him miss the Tour de France.
His move to Bahrain-McLaren reunites him up with former British coach and mentor Rod Ellingworth, who joined the team as general manager for 2020.