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Cavendish shrugs off illness

Mark Cavendish shrugged off illness to make his first competitive appearance in a Team Sky jersey in the Tour of Qatar on Sunday.

The Manxman, who switched to the British-run team after winning the Tour de France's green jersey and the world championships last year, had fallen ill on the flight to Doha but was given the all-clear by team doctors.

Team Sky sports director, Steven de Jongh, said: ‘Our medical team have done a fantastic job in looking after him and Mark has followed their advice to the letter.

‘Clearly, he's not going to be at his best in the next few days but we're hoping he'll get stronger with every passing stage. We'll continue to keep a very close eye on him but hopefully he's over the worst of it now.’

Cavendish did not feature in the sprint for the first stage, a 142.5km ride from Barzan Towers to the College of the North Atlantic, which was won by the Belgian former world champion Tom Boonen.

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