Mark Cavendish has been confirmed to ride in this year’s Tour de France which gets underway this weekend.

The Manx Missile had been widely expected to be named in the Astana Qazaqstan team for the Grand Tour as he aims to break the record for most stage wins at the event.

Cav currently sits alongside the legendary Eddy Merckx on 34 victories at Le Tour, having stormed to four wins the last time he rode in 2021.

He was overlooked for the race last year when riding for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl but, having confirmed he will retire at the end of this season, many expected the Manxman would be included this time around.

And, having stormed to a memorable victory on the final stage of the Giro d’Italia last month, Cavendish has indeed made the cut. 

He forms part of Astana’s eight-man team for the race which will take to the startline at the Grand Depart in Bilbao on Saturday.

Alongside him will be Alexey Lutsenko, Cees Bol, Yevgeniy Fedorov, David De La Cruz , Gianni Moscon, Luis Leon Sanchez and Harold Tejada.

Cav’s hopes of another stage win at Le Tour have been further boosted by the news that Mark Renshaw - so often his expert lead-out man - has joined the team as a sprint and lead-out consultant for the event.

Cavendish has been back in the island training in recent weeks, proudly wearing the 2022 British National Road Race Champions jersey.

Full preview of the Tour de France in this week’s Manx Independent, on sale Thursday morning.