Doug Ryder defends leaving Mark Cavendish out of Tour de France

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish

Team Dimension Data principal Doug Ryder defended his decision to leave Mark Cavendish out of this year's Tour de France and insisted his relationship with the Manxman remains good.

Cavendish said he was "heartbroken" not to make the team's eight-man squad for the race in which he has made his name, having spent months fighting to build his fitness after suffering from the Epstein-Barr virus.

Ryder, speaking ahead of the start of the opening stage in Brussels, said: "Mark is a legend of the race. It is sad for the race that he's not here.

"We took that into account and spoke to the organisers. We selected a team based on the route and how hard it is this year. There was a whole team involved, it was a team decision."

Asked if he still enjoyed a good relationship with his star sprinter, whose contract expires at the end of the season, Ryder said: "Sure".

But while Ryder insisted it was a team decision to leave him out, Dimension Data's head of performance Rolf Aldag confirmed he had wanted Cavendish in the squad.

"It's no secret I wanted him here," Aldag said. "I think it would suit our strategy but ultimately it's a team owner decision.

"It's within my remit to select the team which I did and Mark was included and the team owner has the right to overrule me which he did."

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