LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) Mark Cavendish returned to cycling for the first time since March on Thursday at the Tour of Slovenia, and the sprint star remains hopeful he can start the Tour de France next month.
Cavendish had not raced since Milano-Sanremo in March. He came down with mononucleosis caused by the Epstein-Barr virus in April, forcing him to the sideline during his typical Tour prep.
The 32-year-old British cyclist has 30 stage wins in France, four shy of Eddy Merckx’s record.
This year’s Tour begins with a short time trial July 1 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Cavendish said he’s “fit as I can be after four weeks of training,” but his health will be closely monitored during the four-day Tour of Slovenia. Sam Bennett won Thursday’s opening stage in a sprint.
MADRID (AP) Chris Froome finished Spain’s Ruta del Sol race in 10th place behind winner Tim Wellens on Sunday.
The five-stage race in southern Spain was Froome’s first event since the four-time Tour de France winner was found to have failed a doping test at last year’s Spanish Vuelta.
Froome, who denies any wrongdoing, has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.
Wellens, a Belgian rider for Lotto-Soudal, defended his lead over the final day’s time trial.
Wout Poels, of Froome’s Sky Team, was second at eight seconds behind.
Froome, who won the event in 2015, finished 1 minute, 57 seconds behind. He started the time trial on the final day in 14th after a puncture toward the end of Saturday’s fourth stage.
MALAGA, Spain (AP) Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome is returning to racing on Wednesday despite being under investigation by cycling’s world governing body for failing a doping test.
Froome is participating in the five-day Ruta del Sol in southern Spain, an event he won in 2015.
“I know I have done nothing wrong, that’s my starting point,” Froome said. “There is a process in place for me to be up to demonstrate that, and that’s obviously what I intend to do.”
Froome has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.
He said he has received a lot of support from other riders so far, and that he is trying to solve the issue as fast as possible.
“I do believe that when all the facts are out there I think people will see it from my point of view,” Froome said.
If found guilty of doping, the British rider could lose his Vuelta title and be suspended for a long period.