Mark Cavendish will not race at the Tour de France for a second consecutive year after being left out of Bahrain-McLaren’s eight-man squad.
Cavendish, 35, is second all-time on the list of Tour stage winners with 30 victories, the last of which came in 2016.
Last year, Cavendish was controversially left out of Team Dimension Data’s squad after fighting his way back from the effects of the Epstein-Barr virus, leading to a breakdown in his relationship with the team.
Cavendish left to join his former coach Rod Ellingworth at Bahrain-McLaren in the winter with the hopes of reigniting his career, but instead the truncated season has left him with few opportunities to race.
Now Cavendish has once again been left out of the Tour, with Bahrain-McLaren instead selecting a team designed to support the yellow jersey ambitions of Spaniard Mikel Landa.
“The Dauphine and Vuelta a Burgos were both tough races and timely rehearsals for the Tour de France,” Landa said.
“I’ll be starting this Tour in very good shape, and am greatly motivated by how I’m feeling, as well as the strength and quality of my team-mates who’ll be supporting me on the road. Together, as a team, we can achieve a lot.”
Team Principal Ellingworth said: “The Tour de France is the biggest moment of the year in cycling and I’m proud to say the entire team has done a great job getting us Tour ready; we are where we need to be, and I’m optimistic about what we can achieve.
“This year’s parcours is very well suited to Mikel, and his form is strong.
“The group we have chosen to support him represents our riders who are most suited to the parcours and Tour-ready. The past few months have been challenging for all riders to be race fit, and it’s a credit to all of our guys that we had such a strong line-up to choose from.”
Sports director Gorazd Stangelj said: “Our team motto is ‘Ride as One’ and that’s what we’re going to do for Mikel at this year’s Tour.
“Mikel and his teammates have been incredibly focussed on this moment.
“We’ve put a lot of time and analysis into picking each rider against our GC ambition. We’ve done all we can to prepare, and now the whole team is ready.”
The Tour, rescheduled due to the pandemic, begins next Saturday in Nice.