Illness has affected Mark Cavendish's preparations for the World Championships

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is racing to be ready for the UCI World Championships road race next Sunday after stomach problems stopped him riding for six days.

Cavendish had to skip Sparkassen Münsterland Giro on Monday and Paris-Bourges on Thursday, say his team, due to the problem.

“He should have and wanted to start here and had booked a flight,” Dimension Data’s Performance Manager Rolf Aldag told Radsport News at the Münsterland Giro.

“But he had to abandon the GP Beghelli [September 25] after 70 kilometres completely empty.”

The 2011 world champion visited the doctor and was off the bike for six days “with gastrointestinal problems.”

Aldag explained that the setback leaves Cavendish in a difficult spot with the UCI Road World Championships under two weeks away. “We will make day-to-day decisions about his participation in Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours.”

Cavendish was not on the startlist for Paris-Bourges, leaving only the 252.5-kilometre Paris-Tours on Sunday as a pre-Worlds tune-up race.

“He says, ‘I am super slim’. The weight is definitely not going to be a factor,” Aldag added.

“You can look back at Copenhagen [the 2011 Worlds] when he left the Vuelta a España after two days and nothing went right. He can turn such things around incredibly fast.”

In 2011, however, Cavendish had a month to ready for the Worlds after leaving the Vuelta and raced nine days in the Tour of Britain, with two stage wins.

All you need to know about the UCI Road World Championships

He appeared in top form this year after the Tour de France with a silver medal in the Olympic Omnium, and a second place in a stage and sixth overall in the Giro della Toscana.

“He was still there when there were only 40 riders left in the group and he had no problems,” Aldag explained. “It looked good.”

He then raced the Coppa Sabatini on September 22 and started the GP Beghelli on September 25. If he returns in Paris-Tours, it will be 14 days without racing. Otherwise, he’ll pass 21 days without a race when he starts the Worlds.

Aldag was not available when Cycling Weekly called for comment for this article.