The Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish MBE — the greatest road sprinter of all time, with 55 grand tour stage wins, 34 Tour de France stage wins, 2011 World Road Race Champion, and 3x World Madison Championships sitting neatly in his Palmares.
Cav is a racer through and through. He began racing his BMX from a young age which led to him racing at the National Sports Centre in Douglas, Isle of Man.
In 2003, Cav became just one of six riders selected for British Cycling's Olympic Academy. Unfortunately, his relatively poor performance on stationary bike tests almost lost him this opportunity. However, British Cycling Coaches Rod Ellingworth, John Herety, and Simon Lillistone doorstepped Performance Director, Peter Keen, to include Cav, as he had the kind of magic that a static bike simply cannot read.
"He didn't like losing. He started to win and often he would lap the other riders in the field." - Dot Tilbury, Cav’s former coach.
Mark joined T-Mobile in 2006 as a stagiaire, having impressed on the track. During the 2008 season, he won two stages of the Giro d’Italia, followed by four victories at the Tour de France, becoming the most successful British cyclist at 22.
In 2011, he executed ‘Project Rainbow’ to perfection, taking the road world championship title with a team of stars united as a star team: Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Brad Wiggins, David Millar, Jeremy Hunt, Steve Cummings, Chris Froome.
"We had eight of the best guys in the world. It was incredible, we took it on from start to finish. I can't believe it. We knew three years ago when this course was announced - we put a plan together to put these best guys together. It's been three years in the making and you just saw they rode incredibly. I'm just so proud." - Mark Cavendish
Cav has had a rocky few years, consistently crashing and fighting an uphill battle with form, politics, and life. So many dismissed him, the armchair athletes called for his retirement. However, the one thing you should never do is bet against Cav. He will defy all of the odds to win, which makes him one of the most inspiring athletes ever to grace this planet. Who would have thought that after so many years in the wilderness he's equal Eddy Merck's seemingly unassailable record of 34 TDF stage wins?
If you ever feel knocked down, draw strength and reassurance from Cav that no matter how hard life becomes — you can come back better than ever with hard work, dedication, and passion.
Chapeau, Cav. We are your biggest fans.
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