Mark Cavendish will miss the Giro d'Italia and ride in the Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse as he prepares for the Tour de France.

The sprinter will also ride in the Tour of Turkey at the end of April. This will be the first time he's raced since Milan-San Remo after suffering from an illness.

Cavendish will ride in the Tour of Turkey with lead out man Alessandro Petacchi but the Italian will go to the Giro d'Italia afterwards.

The Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprinter is aiming for victory in the opening stage of the Tour de France and a chance to wear the yellow jersey for the first time in his career, but he admits missing the Giro is a disappointment.

Cavendish said, according to the Omega Pharma-Quick Step website: "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.

"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."

The Brit only won two stages of the Tour de France last year compared to the five stages he won in 2010, the last time he missed the Giro to focus on the Tour.

After a rather disappointing Tour in 2013 maybe missing the Giro this year will spark him into the form he had in 2010, even though last years Giro was a major success for him as he finished in the Red points jersey.

Cavendish will have an added incentive as the first stage this year finishes in his mums hometown of Harrogate.

The teams Development Manager, Rolf Aldag, spoke of the reasons why Cavendish will miss the Giro and ride in the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse.

Aldaq said: "With the sickness Mark had, we had to reshape he calendar a little bit. 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."

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Mark Cavendish
Giro d'Italia
Tour De France