Mark Cavendish takes break from cycling with illness

Mark Cavendish's cycling team says the sprint specialist has been diagnosed with "infectious mononucleosis" and needs time away from racing (Peter Dejong/AP)

LONDON — Mark Cavendish will take an indefinite break from cycling after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus for the second time.

The British sprinter has won 30 Tour de France stages, putting him second in the all-time list, but last won a stage in 2016 and did not finish this year’s race.

Cavendish says "I’m glad to now finally have some clarity as to why I haven’t been able to perform at my optimum level."

In a statement issued by his Dimension Data team, he adds that he has "been advised to take a period of total rest in order to fully recover."

Cavendish was first diagnosed last year with Epstein-Barr, which can cause fatigue and inflammation in various parts of the body.

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