BRUSSELS – Sprint king Mark Cavendish's surprise omission from the Tour de France caused a split in his Dimension Data team on Saturday with owner Doug Ryder and performance director Rolf Aldag at odds over the decision.
Briton's "Manx Missile", who has amassed 30 Tour stage wins, has appeared at every race since making his debut in 2007 but was cut from the eight-rider squad this week.
Addressing media in the paddock opposite the Royal Palace in Brussels, shortly before the Grand Depart, Ryder spoke for the first time about Cavendish's exclusion.
"Mark is a legend of the race," he said. "It is sad for the race that he's not here. We took that into account and spoke to the organisers. We selected a team based on the route and how hard it is this year. It was a team decision."
Aldag had wanted Cavendish in the squad.