Cavendish at the 2015 Tour of Britain
|Full name||Mark Simon Cavendish|
|Nickname||Manx Missile, Cav|
21 May 1985 |
Douglas, Isle of Man
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||70 kg (150 lb; 11 st)|
|Current team||Dimension Data|
|Discipline||Road and track|
|2016–||Team Dimension Data|
|Infobox last updated on
7 February 2014
Mark Simon Cavendish, MBE (born 21 May 1985) is a British professional road racing cyclist who currently rides for UCI ProTeam Team Dimension Data. Originally a track cyclist specialising in the madison, points race, and scratch race disciplines, he has competed on the road since 2006, rising to prominence as a sprinter, widely considered one of the best of his era.
On the track 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.
As a road cyclist, Cavendish achieved eleven wins in his first professional season, passing the record held by Alessandro Petacchi. Cavendish has won twenty-six Tour de France stages putting him third on the all-time list and fourth on the all-time list of Grand Tour stage winners with forty-four 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.
In the Queen's Birthday Honours 2011, Cavendish was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to British Cycling. He won the 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and in 2012 was named the Tour de France's best sprinter of all time by French newspaper L'Equipe. Since 2013 he has been ranked first on the Cycling Weekly all-time ranking of British professional riders.
Early life and amateur career
Cavendish was born in Douglas, Isle of Man, the son of David also from the Isle, and Adele from Yorkshire, England. 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." "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." 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.
He won gold in the madison with Rob Hayles at the 2005 track world championships in Los Angeles. They had not raced together before. They finished one lap ahead of the field to claim the gold medal, ahead of the Dutch and Belgian teams, Cavendish's first world title. Cavendish also won the 2005 European championship points race.
2005–2007: Early years
Cavendish began 2006 with the Continental team, Team Sparkasse, a feeder squad for T-Mobile Team. In June, he won two stages and the points and sprint competitions in the Tour of 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). His success at the Tour of Berlin led to a post as a stagiaire with T-Mobile Team from August until the end of the season. His best result on the road was in the Tour of Britain where he came second three times and won the points classification. It brought a full professional contract for 2007 and 2008.
Cavendish's breakthrough came at the 2007 Scheldeprijs race in Belgium, which he won overall. He went on to win stages at the Four Days of Dunkirk 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 unhappy not to have had a top-five placing. 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. Among the wins were three in UCI ProTour events, the two in the Volta a Catalunya and one in the Eneco Tour.
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. 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.
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. After stage fourteen, Cavendish abandoned the Tour to concentrate on the Olympics in Beijing. 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. Cavendish felt that Wiggins had not performed to the best of his ability in the Madison.
The rest of his season was successful, with a total of eleven further race wins, including three each at the Tour of Ireland 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.
Cavendish's 2009 season began at the Tour of Qatar, where he renewed his rivalry with Quick-Step's Tom Boonen. 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. The Tour of California also saw Cavendish win his first points of classification of the 2009 season.
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. He took up the European season at Tirreno–Adriatico, the Italian one-week stage race, where he won one stage. 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.
Cavendish repeated his two-stage victory at the Three Days of De Panne from 2008, also winning the points classification. At the start of the Giro d'Italia HTC–Highroad[template problem] won the team time trial and he was given the pink jersey leaders jersey, becoming the first Manx rider to ever wear it. 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.
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. In winning the third stage, he became the first Briton to hold the green jersey for two days in a row. 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. Winning stage nineteen, Cavendish set a new record for Tour de France stage wins by a British rider. 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.
Following on from the Tour de France, Cavendish won the Sparkassen Giro Bochum and took part in the Tour of Ireland, winning stage two. 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. Before the race he confirmed that he would remain with HTC–Highroad[template problem] in 2010, ending speculation linking him with a move to newly created British team, Team Sky. 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. Although selected for the British team for the road race at the road world championships, his illness prevented him from taking part.
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. 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.
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. His team withdrew Cavendish from the Tour de Romandie after he made an offensive gesture after winning the second stage. 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. 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.
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. Cavendish returned to form by winning the stage 5, 6, 11, 18 and 20, bringing his career total to fifteen stage wins. He ended up second in the points classification, eleven points behind Petacchi.
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. 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.
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. 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. At the Paris–Roubaix he failed to finish. 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. He won his second Giro victory of 2011 on stage twelve before leaving the race. 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.
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, 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. Cavendish went on to win the points classification; in doing so, he became the first British cyclist to ever win the points classification.
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, then he won the Profcriterium Wolvertem-Meise and following that he won the Wateringse Wielerdag. In August Cavendish's team HTC-Highroad announced that they would fold at the end of the season, fuelling speculation of Cavendish moving to Team Sky. 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.
Less than a week later, Cavendish started the Vuelta a España, but abandoned during stage four due to the searing heat. After withdrawing from the Vuelta Cavendish was allowed to be a late addition for the line up of the Tour of Britain. Cavendish won stage one in Dumfries to take the leader's jersey at that point in the race, and the final stage in London.
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 World Champion after Tom Simpson in 1965. After much speculation, it was announced Cavendish would join Team Sky for the 2012 season. He was joined by his HTC–Highroad team-mate Bernhard Eisel.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. He also won stage five later in the week, moving back into the top ten of the overall classification. He finished the race in sixth place, despite crashing on the final stage. 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. Cavendish targeted a second victory in Milan–San Remo in March, but was dropped on Le Manie, 100 km (62 mi) from the finish. 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.
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". He recovered from minor injuries to win stage 5 and 13. 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. 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.
In July, Cavendish won stage two of the Tour de France, his twenty-first tour stage win. 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). 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. 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 Lance Armstrong and André Darrigade. 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. 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.
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.
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. He then went on to win the Tour of Qatar, with four consecutive stage victories out of six. In March he won the second stage of the Three Days of De Panne. 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.
In May Cavendish won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia, taking the pink jersey for the third time in his career. 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. He won stage 12, claiming his 100th professional victory and taking the red jersey for the third time in the race. 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.
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 Stannard, who recovered from a puncture in the penultimate lap to claim silver.
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. In the 11th stage, a 33 kilometre individual time trial, a spectator doused Cavendish with urine. 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. Later that month Cavendish decided to ride the Danmark Rundt, where he won the race's final stage.
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.
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.
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. 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 and did not start the next stage. He came back to competition at the Tour de l'Ain, where he was winless. He then showed some form at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, winning the first two stages. 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, winning 11 races and gaining no Grand Tour stage wins. Cavendish ended 2014 competing in on the track, taking second place at the Six Days of Ghent and winning the Six Days of Zurich, 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.
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. In March, Cavendish went on to win Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne, for the second time in his career. 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. Cavendish was next in action at the Tour of Turkey where he won three stages and the points classification ahead of Daniele Ratto. Cavendish then participated in the Tour of California, showing good form by winning four stages and the points classification ahead of overall winner Peter Sagan. His Tour de Suisse was unsuccessful as the best place he managed was sixth on Stage 6. Cavendish won stage 7 of the Tour de France in a sprint finish.
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. 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 teammate Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel, his former teammate from HTC and Sky. The team principal, Doug Ryder, described Cavendish's signing as "a big step forward for the team".
Cavendish has been compared to an athletics sprinter pushing on the starting blocks. 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. After stage 19 he said that he was "embarrassed" for his comments about "deserving" green jersey wearer Hushovd. 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 stage sprint. The crash caused Haussler, Arnaud Coyot and Lloyd Mondory to quit the race because of their injuries, though Cavendish was able to continue. 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. Another instance of dubious safety concerns while riding was witnessed on the opening stage of the 2014 Tour de France as he made Simon Gerrans crash while trying to push him out of the way during the sprint.
He has three homes, one on the Isle of Man which he says will always be his real home, a home in Essex which he shares with his wife, and has a training base in Quarrata, Tuscany, Italy. Having been brought up in a strong friendly community on the Isle of Man, Cavendish prefers to live in that kind of community rather than in a city.
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. On 5 October 2013, he married Todd in London. On 24 April 2015 Todd announced over Instagram that she and Mark were expecting a second child  The couple welcomed their son Frey David Cavendish on 17 August 2015, whose weight was 6lb 13oz.
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." In June 2009 his autobiography, Boy Racer, which covered his career to date, was published. 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. His "biggest motivation for writing it had been to explain himself better", to counter the way he came across during interviews immediately after races.
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.
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. In November 2015 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in science by the University of Chester for his contribution to cycling.
- List of British cyclists
- List of Giro d'Italia classification winners
- List of Manx people
- List of Tour de France secondary classification winners
- List of Vuelta a España classification winners
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