Cavendish hasn't missed a Tour since his first in 2007. But he also hasn't won a stage since he took four in 2016 to overhaul Bernard Hinault on the list of stage winners. Hinault won 28. Cavendish, the dominant sprinter of his generation, has been struggling to rediscover his speed since he was diagnosed in 2017 with the Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause fatigue and inflammation.
Without Cavendish, the headliners for Dimension Data at the Tour that starts on Saturday will be Roman Kreuziger, who has four top-10 finishes at the Tour, and Edvald Boasson Hagen, who has three stage wins.
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