Cavendish eyeing Merckx’s record after signing Dimension Data extension

Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish

Team Dimension Data have agreed a contract extension with Mark Cavendish ahead of the 2019 season.

Mark Cavendish hopes 2019 will see the end of his injury and illness problems after signing a contract extension with Team Dimension Data.

Cavendish suffered a broken shoulder at the 2017 Tour de France following an incident with Peter Sagan and has struggled for momentum this year due to physical fatigue caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Despite his troubles, Dimension Data have stayed loyal to their standout star and have handed him a new contract for next season.

Cavendish hopes to repay that faith with a strong campaign, when he will again target Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins at the Tour – the Manxman currently four behind.

“It’s no secret that both 2017 and 2018 have been very difficult years for me physically due to injury and illness,” said Cavendish.

“The physical fatigue suffered as a result of the Epstein-Barr is terrible but the most difficult part was the impact on my job which is my life and passion; not being able to do that is very difficult to handle and it takes a mental toll on you.

“It seems that I’ve always made a career out of comebacks and I’m sure that 2019 is going to be no different after the couple of tough years with illness. I know that I’m on the right track to come back and dominate in the sport again.”

Looking ahead to the next Tour, the 2011 points classification winner added: “The Tour de France record, it’s no secret that it’s the one goal that I have left in cycling.

“After winning 30 stages in my career another four doesn’t seem that much but I’ve always been the first one to say that winning one stage of the Tour de France is something that makes a rider’s career, so I know how difficult it could be to win another four; but I’m never going to stop trying.

“I firmly believe that I will get it and I believe with the best people around me that I have the best chance of getting it. The day that I don’t believe I can challenge to get that record is the day that I probably stop riding my bike.”