Cavendish pulls out of De Panne race
Mark Cavendish has been forced to pull out of the Three Days of De Panne race in Belgium through illness.
The three-day, four-stage event began today and was set to be Cavendish's comeback race after being sidelined with gastroenteritis. His race programme will be now need to be re-evaluated ahead of the summer.
The Manxman first fell ill after finishing fifth in the Milan-San Remo and withdrew from last Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem Classic. He will now return home to rest and recover.
"I'm really disappointed," said a statement from Cavendish released through the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team.
"Sunday I felt better, and I was able to train well, but Sunday night I was sick again and had diarrhoea.
"I decided to come to the race anyway, hoping that the situation would improve, but I started vomiting and having diarrhoea again last night, at about 2am.
"I'm in no shape to start, especially because I can't eat or drink anything.
"After San Remo I wanted to continue to get some good results and ride well both at Gent-Wevelgem and here at the Driedaagse.
"It really is a big disappointment not to be able to race."