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Mark Cavendish: British Sprinting Star


Mark Cavendish is a household name in the world of professional cycling, renowned for his unparalleled sprinting prowess that has left spectators in awe time and time again. Born on May 21, 1985, in Douglas, Isle of Man, Cavendish’s journey to cycling stardom began on the track before he found his true calling on the road.

From the early stages of his career, Cavendish exhibited a natural talent and determination that set him apart from his peers. His transition to road racing proved to be a turning point, as he quickly rose through the ranks to establish himself as one of the most dominant sprinters in the peloton. With an impressive array of victories to his name, Cavendish’s list of accolades speaks volumes about his extraordinary talent and dedication to the sport.

Throughout his illustrious career, Cavendish has amassed an impressive collection of achievements, including a road World Championship title and an astonishing 34 stage wins in the Tour de France, cementing his status as one of the most successful sprinters in the history of the sport.

Beyond his remarkable achievements on the bike, Cavendish’s personality and unwavering determination have both endeared him and depreciated him to fans around the world he tussled against other fan favourites.

What are some of Mark Cavendish’s most significant achievements?

Tour de France Stage Wins: Cavendish holds the record for the most stage wins in the history of the Tour de France, with a total of 34 stage victories. His ability to dominate sprint finishes in the world’s most renowned Grand Tour has solidified his status as one of the greatest sprinters of all time.

Road World Championship: In 2011, Cavendish claimed the rainbow jersey by winning the Road World Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark. He showcased his exceptional sprinting skills by outclassing his rivals in a thrilling finale, securing the prestigious title and earning the right to wear the coveted rainbow jersey for a year.

Milan-San Remo: Cavendish triumphed in the prestigious one-day classic Milan-San Remo in 2009. Known as “La Primavera” or the “Spring Classic,” Milan-San Remo is one of cycling’s five monuments, and Cavendish’s victory underscored his versatility as a sprinter capable of conquering challenging courses.

Giro d’Italia Stage Wins: Cavendish has enjoyed success in the Giro d’Italia, securing numerous stage wins throughout his career in the Italian Grand Tour. His ability to navigate the demanding terrain and emerge victorious in sprint finishes has made him a formidable competitor in the race.

Tour de France Green Jersey: Cavendish won the points classification, represented by the green jersey, in the 2011 Tour de France. His consistent performances in sprint stages earned him valuable points, ultimately clinching the prestigious jersey and further solidifying his reputation as a dominant force in sprinting.

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish

Which teams has Mark Cavendish raced for?

Mark Cavendish’s illustrious cycling career has seen him don the colours of several esteemed professional teams, each playing a significant role in shaping his journey through the sport. He embarked on his professional cycling career with the T-Mobile development team called Team Sparkasse, where he honed his skills and laid the foundation for his future success.

His tenure with T-Mobile Team, later rebranded as Team HTC-Columbia, marked a pivotal phase in his career. It was during this period that Cavendish truly began to showcase his sprinting prowess, racking up an impressive tally of victories and establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the peloton.

The next chapter saw Cavendish join the ranks of Team Sky, where he formed part of the 2012 British Tour de France winning team with Bradley Wiggins before moving on. His time with Omega Pharma-Quick Step, later renamed Etixx-Quick Step, further solidified his status as one of the premier sprinters in the sport’s history.

Subsequent stints with Dimension Data and Bahrain-McLaren allowed Cavendish to navigate new challenges, particularly the recovery from the Epstein-Barr virus. His return to Deceuninck-Quick Step, also known as Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 2022, witnessed a triumphant resurgence, with Cavendish adding to his already impressive collection of wins.

Currently, Cavendish plies his trade with Astana Qazaqstan, where he continues to showcase his exceptional talent and insatiable hunger for success.

Mark Cavendish Michael Schwarzmann European Champs 2019
Mark Cavendish & Michael Schwarzmann European Champs 2019

How does Mark Cavendish train?

Cavendish’s exact training regime is a closely guarded secret, as is the case with many elite athletes. However, his dedication to his craft is evident through his rigorous training schedule. It’s known that Cavendish spends long hours on the bike, logging countless miles to build endurance and maintain his exceptional sprinting ability. In addition to his time on the road, he incorporates regular gym sessions into his routine, focusing on strength and conditioning to improve his power output and overall fitness levels.

Nutrition also plays a crucial role in Cavendish’s training regimen. As a professional cyclist, he carefully plans his meals to ensure he’s fueling his body with the right nutrients to support his intense training and aid in recovery. This includes a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, as well as staying properly hydrated to maintain performance and prevent fatigue.

While the specifics of Cavendish’s training may be kept under wraps, his commitment to his craft and his relentless pursuit of excellence have helped him become one of the most successful sprinters in the history of cycling. For more insights into cycling training and tips on how to improve your performance, be sure to check out our tips page.

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish

What is Mark Cavendish’s riding style?

Cavendish is best known for his explosive sprinting ability, which has earned him the nickname “Manx Missile”. He possesses an uncanny ability to navigate through the peloton and position himself perfectly for the final sprint. His riding style is aggressive yet calculated, often waiting for the perfect moment to unleash his devastating sprint. Whilst not having some of the outright watts of his sprinting rivals (e.g. Marcel Kittel in his prime), Cavendish’s smaller stature enabled him to go as quick or quicker.

Particularly aggressive in his younger days, his firing of a gap didn’t always go well. Notable crashes with Simon Gerrans, Heinrich Haussler, Tom Veelers and Peter Sagan all served to damage his reputation in some people’s eyes.

What bikes does Mark Cavendish ride?

Cavendish has ridden plenty of different bikes in his career due to the sponsorships of the teams he has ridden for. At Deceuninck-Quick Step he rode on Specialized bikes, in particular the Specialized S-Works Venge, a bike specifically designed for sprinters like him. Currently, at Astana Qazaqstan, Cavendish rides the Wilier Filante SLR to victory.

How many races has Mark Cavendish won?

Over his career, Cavendish has won over 150 professional races. At the publishing of this article, the Brit was on 168 career wins. These include 34 stage wins at the Tour de France, 17 at the Giro d’Italia, and 3 at the Vuelta a España, making him one of the most successful sprinters in the history of cycling.

Only 2 other riders have won more stage wins in Grand Tours in their careers. The great Eddy Merckx won 64 and fellow sprinter Mario Cipollini dominated the Giro d’Italia in his career to have 57. Mark Cavendish currently has 54 to his name.

What challenges has Mark Cavendish faced in his career?

Despite his impressive record, Cavendish’s career has not been without its challenges. He has battled a series of injuries and illnesses, including a bout of Epstein-Barr virus that threatened to prematurely end his career. Despite these setbacks, Cavendish has shown remarkable resilience and determination to return to the top of his sport, winning 4 stages of the 2021 Tour de France to cap that return.

Set to retire at the end of the 2023 season, a stage win at the Giro d’Italia fuelled hopes for a final attempt to take the most Tour de France stage wins record outright. Currently, the record is shared with Eddy Merckx on 34 wins. Despite a close finish of 2nd, in the next stage, Cavendish crashed and broke his collar bone. He reassessed his decision to retire and will return for another go at the record in the 2024 Tour de France.

Mark Cavendish 2023 Astana

What is Mark Cavendish’s legacy in cycling?

Cavendish’s impact on cycling extends far beyond his impressive tally of stage wins at the Tour de France. His record-equalling number of victories at the Tour, currently standing at 34, firmly establishes him as one of the most prolific sprinters in the sport’s history. While he may sit in 2nd place for the most career wins with 168, trailing behind the legendary Eddy Merckx, his accomplishments surpass those of many esteemed competitors, including fellow sprinting icon Mario Cipollini, who amassed 163 wins in his illustrious career.

What sets Mark Cavendish apart is not just the quantity of his victories but also the quality and diversity of his triumphs. He has demonstrated his versatility by securing wins in all three Grand Tours, wearing the leader’s jersey in each of these prestigious races. His palmares also boasts a road world championship title, victory in Milan-Sanremo, three track world championships, and a belated Olympic medal earned in Rio. This well-rounded collection of accolades showcases Cavendish’s exceptional talent and adaptability across various disciplines within cycling.

Moreover, Cavendish’s influence extends beyond the race results. He has played a pivotal role in popularising cycling in the United Kingdom, contributing to the sport’s growth and prominence in his home country. His success has inspired a new generation of British cyclists, motivating aspiring riders to pursue their dreams and emulate his achievements on the world stage.