Mark Cavendish says he is recovering quicker than expected from the shoulder injury that ruled him out of the Tour de France but may still miss the World Championships in September.
The 29-year-old crashed on the opening stage of the 3,664km race two weeks ago, forcing him to pull out of the event and he will also miss the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Cavendish returned to action for the first time on Sunday at Carcassonne in France but the Omega Pharma-Quickstep rider admits there is a long way to go yet.
Cavendish said: “I did my first ride on the road yesterday [Sunday]. I wasn’t pain-free but I was okay.
“I’m just a bit weak on my right arm. My surgeon, Len Fong, has done an incredible job and I’ve been working with my physio Phil Jones on the Isle of Man.
“I’ve been in the hyperbaric [oxygen therapy] chamber in the Isle of Man which seems to have speeded up my recovery more than I thought, so I think I can start to train, but the problem is if I crash it would damage the shoulder. I had a grade four ligament tear which was worse than we expected in the first few days but I’ve had great people around me with my rehab and we’ll be talking with the team in the next few days to see what my programme is.”
Cavendish’s injury puts his participation at the World Championships in doubt with the 25-time Tour de France stage-winner refusing to put a date on his competitive comeback.
“I don’t know how long I’m going to be before I start racing,” Cavendish said.
“I just got back on the road on my bike yesterday. Obviously I can’t be competing seriously until I can be guaranteed there’s no more shoulder damage.”
Meanwhile, the peloton now get back on the road in Stage 16 of the Tour de France following yesterday’s rest day. Today’s stage takes the riders from Carcassonne to Bagneres de Luchon, a 237.5km journey.
Italy’s Vicenzo Nibali (Astana) is in the yellow jersey and has a lead of four minutes 37 seconds over Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Ireland’s Nicolas Roche is in 48th place, the Tinkoff-Saxo rider 1 hour 35 minutes behind the race leader.
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