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Cavendish keeping optimistic in coronavirus lockdown

Bahrain-McLaren sprinter draws on experience from recent period of illness to keep focussed during lockdown on Isle of Man.

Mark Cavendish is suffering his second racing hiatus of recent years, but that’s not stopping him from staying positive.

After being sidelined with Eppstein Barr virus through much of 2018 and 2019, Cavendish thought he was on the road back with Bahrain-McLaren this year. But now, like the rest of the peloton, he’s stuck at home waiting out the coronavirus lockdowns and racing stop. However, Cavendish feels the experience of being out of action in the past puts him on the front foot during this second setback.

“I’m actually winning,” Cavendish said Sunday. “The unknown of when you’re going back racing, I had that for two years, being on the indoor trainer, in the gym every day for two years trying to get back.”

“OK, it was interspersed with some racing but now I’ve been doing that and feeling good, not doing that and feeling like a sack of sh*t.”

Cavendish spoke in an Instagram live session with Bradley Wiggins from his home in the Isle of Man, where he’s been waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to abate.

Having gotten a string of races under his belt in the early season, with starts at Saudi Tour and the UAE Tour, Cavendish had told VeloNews earlier this year that though he may not have been scoring wins, at least he was consistently racing and supporting the team. And now any momentum he may have gained is gone.

Cavendish’s ability to stay positive in this second career setback is that this time, he’s not in it alone. The whole peloton is waiting out near-worldwide lockdowns, and all racing is canceled until June.

“It’s not like it’s just me this time,” Cavendish said. “The other years it was just me and everyone else was getting fit, everyone was racing and I was stuck at home. Now there is no competition to perform in so it’s not like I’m missing out.”

“You can only be so frustrated. All we can do is try and keep people safe and get back to normal as soon as we can.”