Mark Cavendish: Tour de Yorkshire return for Isle of Man sprinter
Mark Cavendish will make his return from injury at the Tour de Yorkshire in May after recovering from breaking ribs in two high-speed accidents in March.
The 32-year-old crashed at 55km/h on stage one of Tirreno-Adriatico and then somersaulted over his handlebars in the Milan-San Remo one-day classic.
"I'm delighted to be back racing sooner than I initially thought," he said.
The four-day race, a legacy of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart hosted by Yorkshire, takes place from 3-6 May.
Cavendish's injuries - he also damaged his ankle after flipping over a traffic bollard in the final 10km of the Milan-San Remo on 17 March - forced him to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games where he was due to compete for Isle of Man in the men's road race on the Gold Coast.
The 30-time Tour de France stage winner - the second highest in race history - said the Tour de Yorkshire "could be described as a home race" for him and he is excited to take part.
"My mother's from Harrogate and obviously the last time I raced things didn't go that great (for me) in the 2014 Tour de France," he said, referring to dislocating his collarbone in a crash on stage one.
"But one thing I do remember is the incredible crowds and I know that the Tour de Yorkshire always provides.
"It's the first time that I've raced the Tour de Yorkshire and I'm extremely excited.
"Results-wise; I'm not sure where my form will be actually only having had a couple of weeks back on the bike but I'll just be absorbing the atmosphere in one of the most beautiful places in the world."
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity - the man behind the race and who brought the Tour de France to the county - said he is looking forward to seeing "living legend" Cavendish in action.
He added: "His crash in Italy looked really serious but he's such a tough, tenacious character and we're thrilled he's been able to make such a speedy recovery.
"I'm sure Mark will have his eyes on at least two of the stages on this year's route and we can't wait to see him launch his trademark sprint. It's not every day you get to see a sportsman of his stature competing on home roads, and we're certain he'll receive a hero's welcome."
Cavendish is the second high-profile rider to confirm his attendance at the Tour de Yorkshire after his Team Dimension Data team-mate Serge Pauwels revealed last week he would be back to defend his title.
The four-day race starts on Thursday, 3 May with stage one going from Beverley to Doncaster.
Friday's second stage takes the riders from Barnsley to Ilkley. Saturday's third stage is from Richmond to Scarborough with the finale on Sunday, 6 May starting in Halifax and finishing in Leeds.
A two-day women's race will take place on 3-4 May, preceding the men's race and starting and finishing in the same towns.