Mark Cavendish will not ride the 2019 Tour de France. Dimension Data have announced their line up for the grand tour, with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Giacomo Nizzolo leading the way in the fast finishes.
Having started the last twelve consecutive Tours de France, and notched up 30 stage victories, this year will be the first since 2006 that Mark Cavendish has not been at the Tour de France. Cav hasn’t won a stage of the Tour de France since 2016, and has spent much of the last couple of seasons battling with Epstein Barr virus. This season he has taken three top tens in sprints but just one podium at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey.
Instead Dimension Data have opted to put their trust in three-time stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen and debutant at the Tour de France, Giacomo Nizzolo. Nizzolo, despite being a two-time Giro d’Italia points classification winner, has astonishingly yet to win a stage in any grand tour. This year he has taken wins in the Tour of Slovenia and Tour of Oman, but despite riding almost the full first two weeks of the Giro d’Italia he came away with just four top ten finishes no higher than 5th.
Edvald Boasson Hagen has taken three stage wins so far this season, with time trial victory at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, coupled with wins at the Tour of Norway and Critérium du Dauphiné. The team could easily side with either rider, but from there it’s interesting to ponder whether the team will side with a GC push or pursue mountain stage wins.
Roman Kreuziger and Ben King will be key riders to watch in the mountains with both possessing stage victory potential. King is a two-time Vuelta a Espana stage winner but his career best GC finish in the Tour de France has been 53rd. By contrast, Roman Kreuziger’s GC high finish at the Tour is 5th, although he has never been the same rider he was back when he achieved that feat in 2013; only finishing in the top ten on one occasion since.
With the calibre of riders set to contend for GC honours the Dimension Data squad look more suited to pursuing stage honours than overall success, but time will tell.
The Dimension Data squad for the 2019 Tour de France is:
Edvald Boasson Hagen
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
Lars Ytting Bak