Britain’s Mark Cavendish is to take a period of total rest from cycling because of illness.
His Dimension Data team said the 33-year-old would be taking an indefinite break “due to the presence of Epstein-Barr virus”.
Medical tests have shown the 2011 world road race champion has been unwittingly training with EBV – which causes glandular fever – over recent months.
“This season I’ve not felt physically myself,” Cavendish said.
“Despite showing good numbers on the bike I have felt that there’s been something not right.
“I’m glad to now finally have some clarity as to why I haven’t been able to perform at my optimum level during this time.”
Cavendish, whose 30 Tour de France stage wins put him second on the all-time list, was first diagnosed with EBV in April 2017, but returned to action at the Tour of Slovenia two months later.
Since then, the Manxman has been beset by injuries, breaking his collar bone in a crash at the 2017 Tour de France before suffering injuries in two crashes in March which forced him to withdraw from April’s Commonwealth Games.
In July, he was eliminated from this year’s Tour when he finished outside the time limit on stage 11.