Mark Cavendish will miss Giro d’Italia

Sprint sensation Mark Cavendish has deciced to race this year’s Amgen Tour of California instead of the Giro d’Italia. This season his preparations have been hampered by a dental infection causing him to be slightly behind schedule. Last year Cavendish won four stages in the Giro and another six in the Tour de France, including a presitigious win on the Champs-Élysées.

“We believe Mark will be very strong at the Tour de France and the balance of the season,” HTC Columbia manager Bob Stapleton said in a statement released Wednesday. “He will join the team in California and we are very optimistic about his chances for success there.”

Stapleton said that the week-long Tour of California (May 16-23) will be better-suited to Cavendish’s level of preparation than would be the the Giro (May 8 to 30).

“Infections resulting from dental work in December undermined his training and delayed his start of the season,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton said Cavendish, while in the hunt for individual stage wins, will ride in support of Michael Rogers’ efforts to secure the overall.

Stapleton added that the team’s depth still gives it good options for the Giro.

“We have two of the best sprinters in the world,” said Stapleton, referring to Cavendish and his German teammate Andre Greipel. “We will have strong teams in both races.”