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2011 world champ Cavendish to miss Richmond worlds with injury

British sprinter Mark Cavendish is still suffering from a left shoulder injury he sustained in a recent crash at the Tour of Britain.

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MILAN (VN) — Mark Cavendish will not travel to the United States for the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond next week. The British team announced Friday Cavendish is still suffering from a shoulder injury.

The Etixx-Quick-Step rider crashed on his left shoulder in the sixth stage of the Tour of Britain and abandoned the race a week ago. Cavendish, who won the road race at the 2011 worlds, said earlier this week his shoulder was worse than he feared.

“It’s a real blow for Mark to have to pull out of this year’s race as we thought he had a great chance of being successful,” British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton said in a statement. “Unfortunately the injury he sustained during last week’s Tour of Britain is more serious than we had hoped. We wish him well in his recovery.”

Cavendish will race the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour from October 8-11 before likely ending his season.

Following his 2011 world title in Copenhagen, Cavendish failed to finish the road race at the 2012 and 2013 worlds in Valkenburg and Florence. He skipped last year’s event in Ponferrada because the course did not suit him.

Great Britain’s nine-man team suffered a hit earlier this week when Sky’s Geraint Thomas announced he would miss the worlds. Thomas raced a full season that included wins in the classics and helping Chris Froome ride to another Tour de France title. After completing the Vuelta a Espana, he decided enough was enough.

British Cycling added Adam Yates to its roster as a replacement for Thomas in the September 27 road race. Yates won the Clásica San Sebastián and placed ninth in Tirreno-Adriatico this year.

The team has not yet named a replacement for Cavendish, whose contract with Etixx is up at the end of the season. Among his potential suitors is Pro Continental team MTN-Qhubeka, but the team said Cavendish would need to bring his own sponsors to the African-registered squad.

Bradley Wiggins, who is focusing on making Great Britain’s 2016 Olympic team in track cycling, said last week Cavendish will switch teams for next season. Cavendish has also expressed interest in returning to the track for the Olympics next year in Rio de Janeiro.

Great Britain will likely try to win the rainbow jersey next week with Sky’s Ian Stannard, the two-time defending champion of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, or with Ben Swift if the race in Virginia’s capital city comes down to a sprint.