Mark Cavendish profile

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Name: Mark Cavendish

Age: 26

Nationality: British

Team: Sky

Role: Sprinter

2011 WorldTour ranking: 27

Twitter: @MarkCavendish

Website: http://www.markcavendish.co.uk/

2011 highlights:

  • Road World Championships: 1st
  • Tour de France: 5 stages, green jersey winner
  • Giro d’Italia: won stages 10 & 12, plus team time trial (stage 1)
  • Tour of Oman: won stage 6
  • Grote Scheldeprijs: 1st
  • Tour of Britain: won stages 1 & 8b
  • 17 race wins
  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Why I like him:

I’ve always been a sucker for a bunch sprint – there are few moments in cycling as thrilling – and Mark Cavendish is the most devastating exponent of the sprint finish in the peloton today. A combination of tactical awareness and blistering acceleration have made him the man to beat on flat road stages over the past four years, as an impressive tally of stage wins at the Tour de France (20), Giro d’Italia (seven) and Vuelta a Espana (three) attests. He has won the points competitions at both the Tour and the Vuelta, as well as the one-day classic Milan-San Remo, and in 2011 became only the second Briton to earn the world champion’s rainbow jersey, which he will wear throughout this season.

More than mere statistics, however, Cav is a genuine personality in an increasingly sanitised sporting world. He is neither the most outgoing nor the most articulate rider in the peloton, but he wears his heart on his sleeve, is unfailingly honest and thoughtful in interviews, and is genuinely appreciative of his teammates. Most of all, the man loves to win.

Cavendish and his model girlfriend Peta Todd (@petatodd) are expecting their first child (a daughter) together this spring, a baby which was conceived during last year’s Tour.

Where to see him in 2012:

This year’s World Championship course does not favour sprinters, so expect Cavendish’s 2012 season to start relatively late and revolve around twin July objectives: the Tour de France and the London Olympics road race. He is also likely to target Milan-San Remo (March) and the Giro (May).

Watch out for regular updates tracking Mark Cavendish’s 2012 season over the coming months.

4 thoughts on “Mark Cavendish profile

  1. No question that Cav is easily the best at what he does.

    I’m not such a sprint finish sucker; I’m always willing breakaways to succeed. Perhaps it’s because Cavendish’s dominance has made the sprints so predictable – if there’s a bunch sprint, the little bugger is going to win it nine times out of ten.

    We can’t blame Cav for that; just hope that soon someone else develops into a serious competitor for him.

    • Oh, I love a good breakaway – especially one which just manages to hold off the chasing pack in the final kilometre. We had a few tremendous examples of that in big races in 2011. But for me there’s nothing quite as thrilling for the adrenalin junkie as the hurly-burly of a bunch sprint.

      Cav’s success rate in sprints he contests is phenomenal – close to 90% . Of course, the talent and organisation of his HTC-Highroad team played a big role in that, and although he’s proven more than capable of winning using his own wits I expect he will not be quite as dominant this season. Having said that I still expect him to be top dog, but watch out for Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel and of course former teammates Goss and Renshaw to be highly competitive this year. I think we will see sprints at the Tour being real humdingers as a result, as it will probably be the only place this year where the majority of the above are present.

  2. As far as moments of intense excitement in bike races go, nothing quite compares to a bunch sprint. And Cav is the best at this, by far.

    As Tim says, though, it’ll be interesting to see how good Cav is with a new set-up crew. My dad (also a cycling fan; I’ve been trying my hardest for him to further develop his internet presence and enjoy VeloVoices with me, but it’s a bit of a climb!) has long maintained that Cav’s success is so dependent on the quality of his team. I’m sure he’s right to some degree, but I agree: It’ll be interesting to see how Cav’s specialization translates over to his new teammates’ capabilities.

    Keep on riding, guys!

    • Hey Joe. We’ve certainly seen in the past that Cav is more than capable of winning on his own in the final few hundred metres – not least at the Worlds – but obviously his chances are greatly enhanced by having a strong lead-out. He won’t have it all his own way this year, not least because it looks like the sprint field as a whole is as strong as it has been for many years, with Sagan, Kittel, Goss etc all extremely capable. But I still expect him to be top dog.

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