Veteran British sprinter Mark Cavendish will race the Giro d’Italia which starts on Friday, his Quick Step team announced.The news makes it less likely, but far from impossible, that Cavendish would then race the Tour de France in July, where he is the joint holder with Eddy Merckx of a record 34 stage wins. Quick Step specialize in winning stages rather than tours, and have previously stated that 25-year-old Fabio Jakobsen would be their first choice at the Tour de France, ahead of Cavendish who will be 37 by then.

“Mark is our man for the flat stages in Italy,” said Quick Step sports director Davide Bramati.

“And he can rely on many strong riders to support and guide him in the hectic bunch sprints.”

Good news for Cavendish is that Quick Step also named his preferred lead-out man Michael Morkov alongside him on the eight-man roster.

Cavendish has already won 15 stages at the Giro, with Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini the record holder with 42.

Several top sprinters have been named to race the Giro with Australia’s Caleb Ewan of Lotto and Arnaud Demare of FDJ targeting five potential sprint finishes.

RBA/AFP Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency

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