Mark Cavendish takes break from cycling with illness

FILE - In this Thursday, July 5, 2018 file photo, Britain's sprinter Mark Cavendish listens during the Tour de France cycling race team presentation in La Roche-sur-Yon, Vendee region, France, ahead of Saturday's start of the race. Mark Cavendish will take an indefinite break from cycling after being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus for the second time in his career. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

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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