Mark Cavendish will not race in this year's Giro d'Italia, Omaga Pharma – QuickStep has confirmed.
The Manxman will instead use the Amgen Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse as preapration for the Tour de France, the sprinter's major target this season.
Cavendish will also ride the Tour of Turkey (April 27-May 4) before travelling to the USA.
"As everybody knows, my big goal this year is the Tour de France. Especially as it starts in my native country. My program is shaped for that moment," Cavendish said.
"This year I will skip the Giro d'Italia. I'm saddened as it's a race that has given me great satisfaction in the past. I have great memories and victories, even last year. But, with the Tour de France as my main objective this year, we had to make some choices.
"I'm sure passing through the Tour of Turkey, and a great, well organized race like Tour of California will get me in shape and ready for the Tour de Suisse, which will be my final tune-up for the Tour de France."
Cavendaish will ride with his trusted partner and lead-out man Alessandro Petacchi in Turkey and the veteran Italian will then go on to support team leader Rigoberto Uran in the Italian Grand Tour.
The superstar sprinter has seen his early season disrupted by illness and has been forced to withdraw from a number of races this spring, including the Three Days of De Panne. As a result OPQS have reshuffled his racing schedule.
"With the sickness Mark had, we had to reshape his calendar a little bit," Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. "It's a shame because Mark showed how strong he was at Milano-Sanremo. He could have taken advantage of his condition during the period immediately after that race.
“But, it is what is is, and now we have rebuilt the best approach for Cavendish heading into the Tour. Cav is now training in Italy and will be back at Tour of Turkey with a good, strong team around him. With Tour of Turkey we will open the second part of his season, that culminates with the Tour de France."
With this summer's Tour de France set to take of in Yorkshire, Cavendish will be looking to be in in peak condition to secure a stage victory on British soil.
The sprinter, third on the all-time list of the TdF stage winners as well as one of the ambassadors for Yorkshire's bid, wants to wear yellow through his mother's hometown, Harrogate.
"I'm super excited about the first stage coming to Harrogate, my mother's hometown,” he said. “I still have a lot of family there and it gives me an opportunity to wear the yellow jersey in front of my fans, so to dream of that is a big thing."
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