Mark Cavendish shared his disappointment after being left out of the Tour de France team. Photo: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Mark Cavendish will not compete in the Tour de France for the first time since 2006.

Senior Dimension Data chiefs were split over the decision to drop him, with team principal Doug Ryder ultimately making a call that has devastated the 34-year-old Manxman.

Sportsmail has been told Rolf Aldag, the team’s head of performance, argued for Cavendish’s inclusion after a strong training spell in Austria, as well as a solid performance in last weekend’s National Road Championships.

Cavendish thought he was ready to build on his 30 Tour stage wins. Now this snub raises the question of whether he will ever get the chance to beat Eddy Merckx’s Tour record of 34 stage wins.

Cavendish tweeted: ‘I’m absolutely heartbroken by the decision that means I won’t be @letour this year. As I have done for my entire career, I targeted a specific time to be at peak form. This has pretty much always resulted in me hitting my goals or coming damn close.’

Cavendish won four stages in 2016, but crashed out of the race a year later in an infamous incident with Peter Sagan. He has struggled since with injury and the Epstein-Barr virus.

Daily Mail