Mark Cavendish on road to recovery after early Tour exit
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 hard on the opening stage two weeks ago, forcing him to pull out of the event; 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 told Sky Sports: "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.
"I'm in a great situation with the support I've had from my team and I have to finish the season strong to honour my team and honour the faith they've had in me.
"I want to do that properly, I don't want to be just riding around, and worse I don't want to crash and damage my shoulder even further."