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Mark Simon Cavendish MBE (born 21 May 1985) is a Manx professional road racing cyclist, who currently rides for UCI WorldTeam Team Dimension Data.[6] As a track cyclist he specialises in the madison, points race, and scratch race disciplines and as a road racer he is a sprinter.

Mark Cavendish MBE
Mark Cavendish TDF2012 (cropped).jpg
Cavendish at the 2012 Tour de France
Personal information
Full nameMark Simon Cavendish
NicknameManx Missile,[1] Cav[2]
Born (1985-05-21) 21 May 1985 (age 34)[3]
Douglas, Isle of Man
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[4]
Weight70 kg (154 lb; 11 st 0 lb)[4]
Team information
Current teamTeam Dimension Data
DisciplineRoad and track
RoleRider
Rider typeSprinter
Amateur team(s)
2004Team Persil
Professional team(s)
2005–2006Team Sparkasse
2006–2011T-Mobile Team
2012Team Sky
2013–2015Omega Pharma–Quick-Step
2016–Team Dimension Data[5]
Major wins
Grand Tours
Tour de France
Points classification (2011)
30 individual stages
(20082013, 2015, 2016)
Giro d'Italia
Points classification (2013)
15 individual stages
(2008, 2009, 20112013)
2 TTT stages (2009, 2011)
Vuelta a España
Points classification (2010)
3 individual stages (2010)
1 TTT stage (2010)

Stage races

Ster ZLM Toer (2012)
Tour of Qatar (2013, 2016)
Dubai Tour (2015)

One-day races and Classics

World Road Race Championships (2011)
National Road Race Championships (2013)
Milan–San Remo (2009)
Scheldeprijs (2007, 2008, 2011)
Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne (2012, 2015)
London–Surrey Classic (2011)

In his first years as an elite track rider, Cavendish won gold in the madison at the 2005 and 2008 world championships riding for Great Britain, with Rob Hayles and Bradley Wiggins respectively, and in the scratch race at the 2006 Commonwealth Games riding for Isle of Man. After not winning a medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics he did not compete on track until 2015, subsequently winning with Wiggins in 2016 a third world championship title in the madison, and individually a silver medal in the Omnium at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

As a road cyclist, Cavendish turned professional in 2005, and achieved eleven wins in his first professional season. Cavendish has won thirty Tour de France stages, putting him second on the all-time list, contributing to a joint third-highest total of forty-eight Grand Tour stage victories. He won the road race at the 2011 road world championships, becoming the second British rider to do so after Tom Simpson in 1965. Other notable wins include the 2009 Milan–San Remo classic and the points classification in all three of the grand tours: the 2010 Vuelta a España, the 2011 Tour de France, and the 2013 Giro d'Italia. In 2012, he became the first person to win the final Champs-Élysées stage in the Tour de France in four consecutive years.

Cavendish continued to produce good results until August 2018, when he was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus. He won seven Grand Tour stages in 2013, one in 2015 and four in 2017. This included a win on stage 1 of the 2016 Tour de France, claiming him his first Tour de France yellow jersey of his career. Cavendish crashed with Peter Sagan on stage four of the 2017 Tour de France, forcing him out of the race. Before being diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, Cavendish was able to compete in the 2018 Tour de France, but he was disqualified after not making the cut-off time on stage 11. Cavendish's only win in 2018 came from a first place on stage 3 of the Dubai Tour.[7]

In the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours, Cavendish was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) "for services to British Cycling."[8] He also won the 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award with nearly half of the votes going to him out of a field on ten nominations.[9]

Early life and amateur careerEdit

Cavendish was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, the son of David also from the Isle, and Adele from Yorkshire, England.[10] He began riding BMX at an early age, racing at the National Sports Centre in Douglas. He said: "I was always riding a bike, getting dropped in little races."[11] "My mum would laugh at me, and I said it was because all my mates had mountain bikes, so I asked for a mountain bike for my thirteenth birthday and got one. The very next day I went out and beat everyone."[11] It was at that time that Cavendish met David Millar at a race on the Isle of Man. Cavendish said he was inspired by Millar. Cavendish worked in a bank for two years after leaving school to earn enough money for an attempt at a professional career.[12]

Cavendish gained a place as one of the first six riders selected for British Cycling's Olympic Academy for junior riders in 2003, although he was almost rejected due to his relatively poor performance in stationary bike tests, with coaches Rod Ellingworth, John Herety and Simon Lillistone lobbying British Cycling Performance Director Peter Keen to include him due to his potential.[13] Although he initially struggled due to a lack of fitness, he took his first win in senior competition in March 2004 when he won a stage of the Girvan Three Day race, where he managed to latch back onto the lead group after being dropped over a climb and won the finishing sprint ahead of Julian Winn.[14] Whilst at the academy, he won two gold medals at the 2003 Island Games.[15][16]

Cavendish progressed well at the academy, Ellingworth said "Cav kind of liked it" when asked about the rigid rules and "dictatorship style" of the academy. The junior riders lived on £58 a week - financial management became a part of life at the academy as well as cooking and cleaning.[17][14] Cycling Weekly described the academy as "a boot camp style training regime"[18] controlled by Ellingworth, who, after finding out they had skipped a three hour training ride, made the juniors complete four hours hard at night.[19]

He won gold in the madison with Rob Hayles at the 2005 track world championships in Los Angeles. They had not raced together before - Hayles' regular partner Geraint Thomas had crashed during training a few weeks earlier[14] - but finished one lap ahead of the field to claim the gold medal, ahead of the Dutch and Belgian teams, Cavendish's first world title.[20] Cavendish also won the European championship points race.[21]

Professional careerEdit

2005–2007: Early yearsEdit

Cavendish turned professional in 2005 with Team Sparkasse. During this time, he rode the Tour de Berlin and Tour of Britain.

 
Cavendish (centre) sprinting for stage six of the 2006 Tour of Britain against Tom Boonen (left) while riding for T-Mobile Team

Cavendish began 2006 with the Continental team, Team Sparkasse, a feeder squad for T-Mobile Team.[22] In June, he won two stages and the points and sprint competitions in the Tour de Berlin. He rode for the Isle of Man on the track at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, riding the scratch race. He lapped the field with three others: Rob Hayles; Ashley Hutchinson of Australia; and James McCallum of Scotland. Hayles then led him out for the sprint to win gold for the Isle of Man. The race time was 23' 25", an average 51.9 km/h (32.2 mph).[23][24]

His success at the Tour de Berlin led to a post as a stagiaire with the T-Mobile Team from August until the end of the season. His best result on the road was in the 2006 Tour of Britain where he came second two times and third once and won the points classification.[25] It brought a full professional contract for 2007 and 2008.

Cavendish's breakthrough came at the 2007 Scheldeprijs race in Belgium, which he won.[26] He went on to win stages each at the Four Days of Dunkirk[27][28] and the Volta a Catalunya and that brought selection for the Tour de France. He crashed in stages one and two and abandoned on stage eight as the race reached the Alps, having taken two top-ten placings, but was unhappy not to have had a top-five placing.[29] His début season continued moving on to ten stage wins, one behind Alessandro Petacchi's record eleven for a début season. Cavendish took his eleventh win in early October—the Circuit Franco-Belge—to equal Petacchi's record.[30] Among the wins were three in UCI ProTour events, the two in the Volta a Catalunya and one in the Eneco Tour.

2008Edit

In 2008, Cavendish returned to the track for the track world championships in Manchester, Cavendish was brought in to partner Bradley Wiggins in the madison, as Hayles failed a routine blood test, and was subsequently banned.[31] At around halfway through the race they appeared to be out of contention, with their closest rivals all gaining a lap; but with thirty-five laps left to race, Wiggins launched an attack which helped them reach the field ten laps later, taking the lead, due to their superior points they had collected in the sprints. They held on to win the gold medal, finishing with nineteen points, ahead of Germany on thirteen.[32]

On the road, Cavendish won his first stages of a Grand Tour, by picking two victories in the Giro d'Italia and four further stages in the Tour de France, his first coming on stage five. He won again on stage eight, twelve and thirteen.[33] After stage fourteen, Cavendish abandoned the Tour to concentrate on the Olympics in Beijing.[34] He and Team Columbia manager Bob Stapleton agreed that riding the Alps was a risk to his hopes. He paired with Wiggins in the Madison, and as the reigning world champions, they were favourites for the gold medal, but they only finished ninth.[35] Cavendish felt that Wiggins had not performed to the best of his ability in the Madison.[36][37]

The rest of his season was successful, with a total of eleven further race wins, including three each at the Tour of Ireland[38] and the Tour of Missouri, winning his only points classification of the season at the latter. At the Tour de Romandie, Cavendish won the opening time trial, beating compatriot Wiggins and emphasising his short-distance time-trial abilities.[39]

2009Edit

Cavendish's 2009 season began at the Tour of Qatar, where he renewed his rivalry with Quick-Step's Tom Boonen.[40] Boonen won the race and one stage, though Cavendish took two stages; he also won two stages at the Tour of California, again beating Boonen in the sprint finishes.[41] The Tour of California also saw Cavendish win his first points of classification of the 2009 season.[42]

Cavendish was a surprise inclusion in the British squad for the track world championships, where he competed in the scratch race and the madison, failing to pick up medals in either.[43] He took up the European season at Tirreno–Adriatico, the Italian one-week stage race, where he won one stage.[44] He then entered his first classic race, Milan–San Remo, and, after a week of uncharacteristically humble pre-race statements, rode effectively over the climbs that his rivals had said made this race impossible for him to win – and then tracked down Cervélo TestTeam rider Heinrich Haussler in the last 200 m to narrowly win the sprint and the race, Cavendish's first victory in a race known as one of the five monuments of cycling.[45]

 
Team-mates George Hincapie and Cavendish during stage three of the 2009 Tour de France

Cavendish repeated his two-stage victory at the Three Days of De Panne from 2008, also winning the points classification.[46] At the start of the Giro d'Italia Team Columbia–High Road won the team time trial and he was given the pink jersey leaders jersey, becoming the first Manx rider to ever wear it.[47] The first two road stages however were fruitless for Cavendish, who was beaten to the line by Petacchi in the first stage and was caught behind a crash and failed to make it back for the sprint the next day. Cavendish soon asserted his sprinting dominance on the race however, gaining three stage wins before abandoning following stage thirteen, citing a need to rest for beginning preparations for the Tour de France. He continued his preparation by racing the Tour de Suisse where he won stage three and stage six.[33]

 
Cavendish (foreground) handing over to Bradley Wiggins, on their way to winning gold in the madison at the 2008 track world championships in Manchester

During the season, Cavendish developed a remarkable partnership with his lead out man, Mark Renshaw. Continuing his run of success, Cavendish won stage 2, 3, 10, 11, 19 and 21 of the Tour de France.[33] In winning the third stage, he became the first Briton to hold the green jersey for two days in a row.[48] Cavendish's win on stage eleven enabled him to reclaim the green jersey from rival Thor Hushovd of Cervélo TestTeam, and equalled Barry Hoban's British record of eight stage wins.[49] Winning stage nineteen, Cavendish set a new record for Tour de France stage wins by a British rider.[50] In winning the last stage, he led home a one–two for his team, when his team-mate and leadout man, Renshaw, finished second on the Champs-Élysées.[51]

Following on from the Tour de France, Cavendish won the Sparkassen Giro Bochum and took part in the Tour of Ireland, winning stage two.[52] In September he recorded the fiftieth win of his road racing career in a sprint finish in the opening stage of the Tour of Missouri.[53] Before the race he confirmed that he would remain with Team Columbia–HTC in 2010, ending speculation linking him with a move to newly created British team, Team Sky.[53] Cavendish retained the leader's jersey by sprinting to victory on stage two but finished fifth on stage three, losing the overall lead to Hushovd, and was forced to withdraw from the race before stage four due to a lung infection.[54] Although selected for the British team for the road race at the road world championships, his illness prevented him from taking part.[55]

2010Edit

Following a dental problem, Cavendish delayed the start of his 2010 season until the Vuelta a Andalucía, in mid-February. Following the lay off his form was poor, and he failed to defend his victory at the Milan–San Remo, coming in six minutes down in eighty-ninth place.[56] Cavendish's pre-season goals were to win the green jersey in the Tour de France and win the road race at the road world championships. Cavendish also said that he would race in the Tour of Flanders but said he wouldn't win it, stating that the Tour of Flanders requires training, but he sees himself winning it in the future.

 
Cavendish celebrates winning the opening stage of the 2010 Tour of California, with Juan José Haedo rider of Team Saxo Bank and Alexander Kristoff of BMC Racing Team, second and third respectively.

Following a poor start to the season, Cavendish found form at the Volta a Catalunya, finishing seventh in the time-trial and winning stage two.[57] His team withdrew Cavendish from the Tour de Romandie after he made an offensive gesture after winning the second stage.[58] Missing the Giro d'Italia, Cavendish instead chose to compete at the Tour of California starting in May, where he won stage one, for only his third victory of the season.[59] In June Cavendish crashed heavily whilst sprinting in the closing metres of the stage four of the Tour de Suisse, appearing to veer off line and bring down Haussler and several other riders, raising criticism from other teams regarding his riding style.[60]

Cavendish entered the Tour de France. During stage one, Cavendish crashed out of the final sprint, with just under 3 km (1.9 mi) remaining in the stage. Overhead camera footage showed Cavendish failing to negotiate a corner after entering too fast and turning too late. He then leaned his shoulder into a fellow rider as he travelled away from the racing line.[61][62][63] Cavendish returned to form by winning the stage 5, 6, 11, 18 and 20,[33] bringing his career total to fifteen tour stage wins.[64] He ended up second in the points classification, eleven points behind Petacchi.[65]

Cavendish's next race was the Vuelta a España, in which his team won the team time trial with Cavendish crossing the line first taking the leader's jersey.[66] He could only place second or third on the subsequent sprint stages, but returned to form later in the race winning stage twelve, thirteen, eighteen and the points classification.[33][67]

2011Edit

Cavendish had a slow start to 2011 failing to win a race until late February when he won the stage six of the Tour of Oman.[68] He continued to race and came to his second victory of the season in the Scheldeprijs, his third following his previous triumphs in 2007 and 2008, brought him to the record tied with Piet Oellibrandt.[69] At the Paris–Roubaix he failed to finish.[70] He came second in the second stage of the Giro d'Italia in contentious circumstances (Cavendish gestured at winner Petacchi for appearing to move across his path in the final sprint), to take the pink jersey into stage three. Cavendish got his first grand tour victory of the year by winning stage ten of the Giro, shrugging off claims that he had illegally held on to his team car when climbing Mount Etna on stage nine.[71] He won his second Giro victory of 2011 on stage twelve before leaving the race.[72] On 11 June it was announced that Cavendish was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours.[73][74]

 
Cavendish, in the green jersey, being led out to victory by team-mates Matthew Goss and Mark Renshaw on stage fifteen of the 2011 Tour de France.

Cavendish won stage 5, 7, 11, 15 and 21 of the Tour de France — bringing his total to twenty career Tour de France stage wins,[33][75][76] and the first person ever to win the final stage three years in succession. Even though he was docked twenty points for finishing outside the time limit after stage eighteen and again after nine.[77][78] Cavendish went on to win the points classification; in doing so, he became the first British cyclist to ever win the points classification.[79][80]

Over the following weeks Cavendish took part in the post-Tour criteriums. He won the Stiphout Criterium in The Netherlands, beating brothers Andy and Fränk Schleck of Leopard Trek to the line,[81] then he won the Profcriterium Wolvertem-Meise[82] and following that he won the Wateringse Wielerdag.[83] In August Cavendish's team HTC-Highroad announced that they would fold at the end of the season,[84] fuelling speculation of Cavendish moving to Team Sky.[85] The following week, he won the London–Surrey Cycle Classic; racing for Team Great Britain, it was the official test event for the road race at the Olympics and part of the London Prepares series.[86]

Less than a week later, Cavendish started the Vuelta a España, but abandoned during stage four due to the searing heat.[87] After withdrawing from the Vuelta Cavendish was allowed to be a late addition for the line up of the Tour of Britain.[88] Cavendish won stage one in Dumfries to take the leader's jersey at that point in the race,[89] and the final stage in London.[90]

 
Matthew Goss of Australia, Cavendish and Germany's André Greipel on the podium after the road race at the 2011 road world championships.

At the end of September Cavendish went to the road world championships in Copenhagen taking part in the road race with an eight-strong British team. After the team controlled the whole race it came down to a sprint finish with Cavendish crossing the line in first place taking the rainbow jersey. He became the second British male World Champion after Tom Simpson in 1965.[91][92] After much speculation, it was announced Cavendish would join Team Sky for the 2012 season.[93] He was joined by his HTC–Highroad team-mate Bernhard Eisel.[94]

In November, Cavendish made a cameo return to the track, competing in the Revolution event at Manchester Velodrome. He won the scratch race, his first win on the track of any kind since 2008.[95] He announced that he was starting his training for the 2012 season earlier than in previous years, with the aim of being more competitive in the Classics.[96] In November, he won the 2011 Most Inspirational Sportsman of the Year Award at the Jaguar Academy of Sport Annual Awards at The Savoy Hotel in London.[97] In December, Cavendish became the winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award with 169,152 (49.47%) of the votes cast, ahead of Mo Farah and Darren Clarke.[98]

2012Edit

Cavendish began his 2012 season at the Tour of Qatar, where after struggling with illness, he won stage three to take his first victory for Team Sky.[99] He also won stage five later in the week, moving back into the top ten of the overall classification.[100] He finished the race in sixth place, despite crashing on the final stage.[101] Although he did not win any stages at the Tour of Oman, having suffered an injury in the first stage, he returned to win the Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne.[102] Cavendish targeted a second victory in Milan–San Remo in March, but was dropped on Le Manie, 100 km (62 mi) from the finish.[103] He did not manage to finish high up in any of the other 2012 classics. In the Tour de Romandie, Cavendish showed his ability in short time trials by finishing third in the prologue, but did not take any stage wins.[104]

A week later Cavendish took his season victories to five by winning the sprint on stage two of the Giro d'Italia. The following day, he was again in contention for victory on stage three, but in the sprint Androni Giocattoli–Venezuela's Roberto Ferrari aggressively switched lanes, clipping Cavendish and sending him to the ground and causing the whole field to stack up behind. Among other riders to fall was overall leader Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team). Cavendish later tweeted that Ferrari should be "ashamed to take out Pink, Red & World Champ jerseys".[105] He recovered from minor injuries to win stage 5 and 13.[106][107] Cavendish completed the Giro, but lost the points classification to Team Katusha's Joaquim Rodríguez by a single point. He did win the minor Azzurri d'Italia and stage combativeness classifications.[108] Cavendish competed in the Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk, in mid-June. Despite failing to win any of the four, mostly flat, stages, Cavendish's consistency ensured that he won the overall general classification – the first of his professional career – by eight seconds.[109]

 
Cavendish won the final stage of the 2012 Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées, for a record fourth successive year.

In July, Cavendish won stage two of the Tour de France, his twenty-first tour stage win.[110] Cavendish was in contention for another stage victory on stage four, but was taken out in a large crash in the final 3 km (1.9 mi).[111] Cavendish then took on a supporting role, with Team Sky attempting to win the race overall with Wiggins, and was seen carrying bottles for team-mates and even setting the pace on a Pyrenean climb.[112] The team repaid Cavendish for his hard work by helping chase down a breakaway on stage eighteen, although Cavendish alone had to chase down Rabobank rider Luis León Sánchez and Nicolas Roche of Ag2r–La Mondiale in the final 200 m to take his 22nd Tour stage win, equalling André Darrigade.[113] Cavendish won the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysée for a record fourth successive year and, in doing so, became the most successful sprinter in Tour history with twenty-three stage wins.[114] He also became the first person to win on the Champs-Élysées in the rainbow jersey. During the Tour, French newspaper L'Equipe named Cavendish the Tour de France's best sprinter of all time.[115][116]

Cavendish's main target for the season was the road race at the Olympics, which was held six days after the final stage of the Tour de France. A strong British squad of Wiggins, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard and Millar was assembled around Cavendish, with the team aiming to control the race and allow Cavendish to take a sprint victory on The Mall. However, the team were forced to set the pace for the majority of the race, with few nations offering any support, and on the final climb of the Box Hill circuit, a large breakaway group of over thirty riders formed. Despite the best efforts of Stannard, Wiggins, Millar, Froome and Sky team-mate Bernhard Eisel, the breakaway could not be brought back leaving Cavendish to finish twenty-ninth, forty seconds behind the winner, Alexander Vinokurov of Kazakhstan.[117]

Cavendish won three stages of the Tour of Britain, crossing the line first in Dumfries, Blackpool and Guildford.[118] On 18 October, he signed a three-year contract with Belgian team Omega Pharma–Quick-Step for the 2013 season.[119]

2013Edit

Cavendish started the 2013 season by winning the opening stage of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina on his début for Omega Pharma–Quick-Step.[120] He then went on to win the Tour of Qatar, with four consecutive stage victories out of six.[121] In March he won the second stage of the Three Days of De Panne.[122] In April finished in second place to defending champion Marcel Kittel of Argos–Shimano at the Scheldeprijs; he faded in the final kilometre, but recovered to launch his sprint from around twenty riders back with 200 m remaining.[123]

 
Cavendish won the red jersey at the 2013 Giro d'Italia, becoming one of only five riders to win the points classification in all three Grand Tours.

In May Cavendish won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia, taking the pink jersey for the third time in his career.[124] He went on to win stage six from a bunch sprint after a pan-flat stage. This victory moved him above Robert Millar to the top of Cycling Weekly's all-time ranking of British professional riders.[125] He won stage 12, claiming his 100th professional victory and taking the red jersey for the third time in the race.[126] The next day, he timed his finish perfectly to win the punishing stage 13, his fourth victory of the 2013 race. His fifth victory of the Giro came on the final stage, wrapping up the points classification which he had led for much of the race. By doing so, Cavendish became only the fifth rider to win the points classification in all three Grand Tours.[127]

On 23 June, Cavendish won the national road race championship, around the street circuit in Glasgow. He overtook David Millar on the home straight and held off the challenge of Ian Stannard, who recovered from a puncture in the penultimate lap to claim silver.[128]

In July, Cavendish won stage five of the Tour de France, giving him 24 career Tour stage wins. He was greeted on the line by André Darrigade, the previous holder of the record for most Tour stages won by a sprinter.[129] In the 11th stage, a 33 kilometre individual time trial, a spectator doused Cavendish with urine.[130][131] On the 13th stage from Tours to Saint-Amand-Montrond, he rode with a 14-man breakaway with 30 km (18.6 mi) to go and out-sprinted Peter Sagan to win the stage – his 25th Tour de France stage win.[132] Later that month Cavendish decided to ride the Danmark Rundt, where he won the race's final stage.[133]

In September, Cavendish returned to the track for the first time since the Olympic Games in Beijing, competing at the velodrome in Ghent for the International Belgian Open. Finishing second in the scratch race and third the Madison with Owain Doull, Cavendish hasn't ruled out the prospect of competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro having earned enough point to qualify for the World Cup.[134]

On 18 September, Cavendish took victory in stage 4 of the Tour of Britain, outsprinting Elia Viviani in Llanberis in the Snowdonia national park. He repeated the win 3 days later to take stage 7 – once again out-sprinting Italy's Elia Viviani to the finish on Guildford High Street. He also won the final stage in London the next day.[135]

2014Edit

 
Cavendish at the 2014 Tour of Turkey

Cavendish had a quiet start to the year, deciding not to compete in the Giro d'Italia. His best classics result was a fifth place in the Milan-San Remo. He won four stages and the points classification at the Tour of Turkey.[136] In the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France, which took place in Yorkshire, England, from Leeds to Harrogate, Cavendish crashed out during a collision he caused in the final few seconds of the sprint finish. He suffered a separated right shoulder[137] and did not start the next stage.[138] He came back to competition at the Tour de l'Ain, where he was winless.[139] He then showed some form at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, winning the first two stages.[140] Cavendish competed in the Tour of Britain in September, coming 3rd in the first stage in Liverpool and 2nd in the final stage in London. Overall, his 2014 season proved to be one of his least successful,[141] winning 11 races and gaining no Grand Tour stage wins.[142] Cavendish ended 2014 competing in on the track, taking second place at the Six Days of Ghent[143] and winning the Six Days of Zurich,[144] both with Iljo Keisse, but later ruled out an attempt to enter for the track cycling competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics due to his road commitments.[142]

2015Edit

In contrast to the previous year, Cavendish had a successful start to the 2015 season, winning five races by mid-February, including two stages, the points classification and the general classification at the Dubai Tour.[145][146] In March, Cavendish went on to win Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne, for the second time in his career.[147] He then participated to Tirreno–Adriatico, where he was caught up in a large crash on stage two due to Elia Viviani clipping his back wheel and causing his chain to drop.[148] Cavendish was next in action at the Tour of Turkey where he won three stages and the points classification ahead of Daniele Ratto.[149] Cavendish then participated in the Tour of California, showing good form by winning four stages and the points classification ahead of overall winner Sagan.[150] His Tour de Suisse was unsuccessful as the best place he managed was sixth on stage six.[151] At the Tour de France, Cavendish won stage seven by taking André Greipel's wheel before passing him in a sprint finish in Fougères.[152] This was his 26th Tour de France win and the first since 2014.[153]

On 16 August, Cavendish returned to the track, joining forces with Bradley Wiggins to win the Madison in the first round of the Revolution cycling series at the newly opened Derby Velodrome.[154] It was the first time the pair had ridden the event together since the 2008 Olympics.

On 29 September, it was announced that Cavendish had signed for MTN–Qhubeka – to be renamed as Team Dimension Data – for the 2016 season, along with his Etixx-Quick Step teammates Renshaw and Eisel, his former teammate from HTC and Sky. The team principal, Doug Ryder, described the move as "a big step forward for the team."[155]

2016Edit

 
Cavendish at the 2016 Paris–Roubaix

In February, Cavendish rode the Tour of Qatar for the second time of his career, taking the opening stage and the general classification. He stated that his aim for 2016 was the Olympics, due to his desire to win a medal, choosing to ride on the track in the omnium. In preparation he competed at the track world championships; he placed sixth in the omnium and partnered with Wiggins he won the madison.[156] In April he rode the Tour of Croatia, winning stage two.[157]

On 2 July, he won the opening stage of the Tour de France in a sprint finish at Utah Beach, taking his 27th stage win, and putting on the yellow jersey for the first time.[158] He lost the jersey the following day when Sagan won on stage two.[159] Cavendish won stage three in a photo finish with André Greipel in Angers, taking his 28th win and equalling Bernard Hinault's tally. This win put him in the lead of points classification.[160][161] He won stage six in a bunch sprint at Montauban, ahead of Marcel Kittel and Dan McLay, to increase his lead.[162] Sagan retook the green jersey from Cavendish on the tenth stage, where the Slovakian was part of a breakaway that led the race until the end, finishing second to Michael Matthews at the finish line in Revel and also winning the stage's intermediate sprint.[163] Cavendish went on to take his fourth stage of the 2016 Tour, and his 30th Tour stage victory, on Stage 14, pipping Alexander Kristoff and Sagan to the finish in Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux.[164] He quit the Tour on the second rest day before mountainous stages, citing his need to prepare for the Rio Olympics.[165] At those Games, Cavendish finally won an Olympic medal at his third attempt, taking the silver medal in the men's Omnium.

After the Olympics, Cavendish returned to track racing, teaming up with Bradley Wiggins to race the 2016 Six Day London. The pair narrowly lost to Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw in the final moments of the sixth day, finishing in second overall position. The pair went on to also race at the Six Days of Ghent, this time beating De Ketele and De Pauw to take the overall victory.

2017Edit

After not taking any wins in his opening race, the Dubai Tour,[166] Cavendish won the opening stage of the World Tour Abu Dhabi Tour.[167] In April, he was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, preventing him from racing until the 2017 British National Championships.[168]

Back to form by the 2017 Tour de France, Cavendish crashed after the reigning World Champion Peter Sagan reportedly forced him into the barriers in the final sprint at the finish of stage four. Cavendish suffered a fractured shoulder blade, after landing on his right shoulder which he had dislocated 3 years earlier, and withdrew from the race.[169][170] Sagan was later disqualified as it appeared that he had struck Cavendish with an elbow and, in response, Cavendish said that he was friendly with Sagan but he wasn't "a fan of him putting his elbow in".[170] Rob Hayles, a former professional cyclist, said that Cavendish was already heading into the barriers before Sagan put his elbow out and he also claimed that no contact was made between the two cyclists.[171] Others share Hayles opinion, stating that it was more Cavendish's fault for attempting to squeeze through a small gap than Sagan's, however, race officials state that Sagan "endangered some of his colleagues seriously" in the sprint.[172][173]

Cavendish returned to race at the madison in the Six Day London.[174] Following Bradley Wiggins' retirement, he teamed up with Peter Kennaugh,[175] and finished second overall.[176]

2018Edit

Cavendish started his 2018 season at the Dubai Tour, winning stage 3. He then raced the Tour of Oman, placing second on the opening stage.[177] He then went on to start the Abu Dhabi Tour, only to crash in the neutralised zone of the first stage. He fell on the shoulder he fractured at the previous year's Tour de France and was forced to abandon.[178] Cavendish returned to action at Tirreno–Adriatico, but suffered another crash during the opening Team time trial. Cavendish suffered a fractured rib and, despite getting back on his bike, missed the time cut, meaning he was unable to continue in the race.[179] Cavendish was fit to start Milan–San Remo, but crashed heavily into a bollard in the final 10 km as the peloton approached the crucial Poggio di San Remo climb. He suffered another fractured rib, bruising and abrasions, as well as a possible ankle ligament injury.[180]

In 2018 Cavendish's hopes of winning a Tour de France stage ended after failing to make the time cut on the 11th stage. Cavendish crossed the line one hour five minutes and 33 seconds after stage winner Geraint Thomas, way outside the time limit that had been set at 31:27.[181]

Cavendish was due to start the European Road Championships, but pulled out after being advised to after enduring a number of injuries earlier in the season. Cavendish said that it is "incredibly disappointing" not to have competed.[182][183]

2019Edit

Cavendish returned to racing at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina, after not having raced since August 2018. He finished eighth and later said that it was "nice to be back in the peloton".[184]

Cavendish was not selected for the Tour de France due to strained relations with Team Dimension Data principal and owner Douglas Ryder[185] and illness problems since 2017. In response, Cavendish said he was "absolutely heart-broken" to be missing the tour which he had competed in each year since 2007.[186][187] Douglas Ryder said it "was multiple people who made that decision" and that "there was a whole team involved", however, team performance director, Rolf Aldag, said that the decision was made by Douglas Ryder alone. Aldag made his intentions clear of selecting Cavendish for the tour, but later accepted that it was ultimately the team owner's decision of who would be in the team.[188] Aldag announced his departure from the team at the end of the season in a statement in early September.[189]

Cavendish crashed on stage 1 of the Tour de Pologne after a touch of wheels around a slow and sharp corner at roughly 4 km (2.5 mi) from the finish which, after finishing, left him in last place,[190][191] however, he was able to finish sixth on stage 3. Cavendish eventually abandoned on stage 6 of the tour to focus on the European Road Championships,[192][193] where he finished 31st.[194]

Cavendish was selected by Team Dimension Data to the lead the team at the Deutschland Tour[195] and to ride in the Tour of Britain.[196]

Riding styleEdit

Cavendish has an aggressive riding style that has been compared to an athletics sprinter pushing on the starting blocks.[197] At the 2009 Tour de France, the points that he gained in the intermediate sprint in stage 14 were removed after he was judged to have driven Thor Hushovd too close to barriers on the course.[198] After stage 19, he said that he was "embarrassed" for his comments about "deserving" green jersey wearer Hushovd.[50] After stage four of the 2010 Tour de Suisse, Cavendish was found to be at fault for a crash involving himself and Heinrich Haussler during the end of the sprint stage.[199] The crash caused Haussler, Arnaud Coyot and Lloyd Mondory to quit the race because of their injuries, though Cavendish was able to continue.[200] Cavendish received a thirty-second penalty and a CHF200 fine. The start of the next stage was disrupted by fellow riders protesting at Cavendish's riding and style, and what they claimed was a lack of respect from Cavendish.[200]

Cavendish's riding style resulted in organisers of the Boxmeer Criterium 2013 in the Netherlands to announce he was not welcome.[201] This was due to an incident during Stage 10 of the 2013 Tour de France when he bumped Dutch rider Tom Veelers in a sprint finish, sending the Argos-Shimano rider tumbling. Another instance of dubious safety concerns while riding was witnessed on the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France as Cavendish made Simon Gerrans crash while trying to push him out of the way during the sprint.[137]

Cavendish accepted blame and apologised for the crash of South Korean cyclist Sanghoon Park at the men's omnium event at the 2016 Olympics when an incident between them led to Park being thrown from his bike.[202] After the crash, Park appeared unconscious on the track and did not move as medical officials rushed to his aid, eventually taken away on a stretcher.[203]

Personal lifeEdit

He has three homes, one on the Isle of Man, which he says will always be his real home; one in Essex, which he shares with his wife; and a training base in Quarrata, Tuscany, Italy.[204][205]

Cavendish is married to former glamour model and Page 3 girl Peta Todd. On 3 April 2012, Cavendish announced the birth of their daughter, Delilah Grace Cavendish.[206] On 5 October 2013, he married Todd in London, making him stepfather to her son Finnbar (born 2006) from a previous relationship.[207] On 24 April 2015, Todd announced over Instagram that she and Mark were expecting a second child.[208] On 17 August 2015, the couple welcomed their son Frey David Cavendish, whose weight was 6 lb 13oz. On 25 May 2018, they announced the birth of their second son, Casper Charles Cavendish via Instagram.[209]

Cavendish has been described as confident, even arrogant. In 2008 he said: "When journalists at the Tour de France ask me if I am the best sprinter, I answer Yes, and that's seen as arrogance, but if they don't ask me, I don't say I'm the best sprinter in the world."[197] Cavendish has a "photographic" memory for the details of race routes. Jonathan Liew interviewed him in 2013 and he said, "If I do a circuit then after three laps I could tell you where all the potholes were." As a test Jonathan asked him to recount the close of his win in San Remo five years earlier. It took Cavendish five minutes to recite every detail of the last 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). This is an obvious asset to Cavendish in planning and timing his races.[210]

In January 2015 Cavendish announced the creation of the Rise Above Sportive, a cyclosportive to be held in Chester and North Wales in August 2015.[211] In November 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in science by the University of Chester for his contribution to cycling.[212]

Cavendish was diagnosed with Epstein–Barr virus in April 2017 and spent months out of action before returning to race the 2017 Tour de France.[213] In August 2018 he was diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus a second time and withdrew from training and racing in order to rest.[214]

Boy RacerEdit

 
Cavendish during a press conference at the 2010 Tour of California, with his autobiography Boy Racer.

In June 2009, his autobiography, Boy Racer, which covered his career to date, was published by Ebury Press.[215][10] At a press conference in London ahead of the 2009 Tour de France, Cavendish explained that the book was "more a biography of last year's Tour stage wins" than an autobiography.[216] His "biggest motivation for writing it had been to explain himself better", to counter the way he came across during interviews immediately after races.[216]

In an interview with Cyclingnews.com, Cavendish said that the book would "cause some controversy" before saying that it is positive in respect to others.[215] The book addresses many events including an offer of more money from elsewhere to leave Team Columbia–High Road in 2008, which Cavendish declined; relationships with teams and riders; and moments of significance for Cavendish in races.[217][218] Each chapter describes a stage from the 2008 Tour de France stages 1 to 14, implementing other autobiographical moments from Cavendish's life.[219]

Career achievementsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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