Reuters

Mark Cavendish takes it easy in Tour of Slovenia on return to action following illness

Cavendish takes it easy in Tour of Slovenia on return to action following illness
By PA Sport

15/06/2017 at 14:25Updated 15/06/2017 at 14:59

Mark Cavendish did not contest the finishing sprint as he returned to racing after a three-month absence at the Tour of Slovenia.

Ireland's Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the 159.4-kilometres stage from Koper to Kocevje.

Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) was ahead of a late crash which fractured the peloton, but was never in contention on the narrow finish as Bennett won.

The 32-year-old Manxman opted not to launch his sprint. The four-day race concludes on Sunday as Cavendish seeks to prove his fitness ahead of the Tour de France.

The 30-times Tour stage winner was racing for the first time since the Milan-San Remo one-day race on March 18.

He was diagnosed with glandular fever, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, in April and made a gradual return to training.

The Tour begins in Dusseldorf on July 1 and concludes in Paris on July 23, with Cavendish bidding to move closer to Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins.

Cavendish is scheduled to race in the British Championships on the Isle of Man on June 25.

Stage One Results

1. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) 3:52:57

2. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida)

3. Luca Mezgec (Orica-Scott

4. Roberto Ferrari (Team UAE Abu Dhabi)

5. Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini)

6. Marco Pavlic (Slovenia)

7. Dusan Rajovic (Adria Mobil)

8. Andrea Palini (Androni Giocattoli

9. Rafal Majika (Bora-Hansgrohe)

10. Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data)

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