British Cycling coach Rod Ellingworth has confirmed Cycling Weekly‘s earlier story that the final place in the World Championship road race team is between Mark Cavendish and Ian Stannard.
Eight riders have been confirmed today (Monday). David Millar (Garmin), Steve Cummings, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas (all Barloworld), Russell Downing (CandiTV), Roger Hammond, Dan Lloyd (Cervélo) and Ben Swift (Katusha) will all ride Sunday’s 262-kilometre race on a hilly circuit in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
The only doubt is over Mark Cavendish, who pulled out of the recent Tour of Missouri in the United States with a lung infection.
Although he’s over the illness, he missed a planned block of training. British Cycling’s coach Rod Ellingworth said the decision would be left until later in the week.
“I’m talking to Cav on a daily basis. Ian knows the situation and all the riders are in the loop,” he said. “We knew that it would be hard for Mark to do a job on that circuit but he’s such an important part of the group we wanted him involved. The power he brings to the team, and the boost he gives to everyone lining up alongside him on the start line is important.
“If he is healthy and if he feels he can do a job in the first half of the race, then he’ll be in the team.
“The important thing is that the riders know what is going on and the riders know the decision before anyone else, so Ian will be with us and he is preparing well and will be ready to step in.
“The plan had been for Mark to do a big block of training after the Tour of Ireland but he was unable to do all of the work because he was slightly ill. Then he travelled to America and back and he got worse. So it’s not that he’s still ill, it’s that he missed a big week of training.
“We said he’d be fine if he rode his bike every day in the run-up to the Worlds but the accident with Jonny Bellis has knocked him for six.”
Saxo Bank rider Bellis, Cavendish’s friend from the Isle of Man, was involved in a scooter accident near Quarrata in Italy at the weekend and is in a serious but stable condition.
Ellingworth added: “If Mark turns round and says he can’t do a job, then that’s fine. It won’t be because he doesn’t want to, but we want him to be up front about how he’s feeling and what he can contribute.”