Mark Cavendish Biography
Born in Isle of Man, 1985, Mark Cavendish has become arguably the world’s fastest sprinter, dominating the sprint stages of the 2008 Tour by winning 4 stages.
Mark initially gained success through racing on the track. As part of Team Great Britain, he became Madison world champion in 2005 (with Rob Hayles) and 2008 (Bradley Wiggins). He also won gold for Isle of Man in the 2006 Commonwealth games.
In 2005, he rode his first road races, competing in the Tour of Britain and Tour of Berlin. In 2006, he won the points competition in the Tour of Britain, helping him gain a professional contract with T-Mobile.
His first Tour de France, in 2007, was a disappointment due to a couple of heavy crashes. He abandoned as the race reached the Alps.
In 2008, riding for Team High Road/Columbia, he completed the Giro d’Italia – his first major stage race winning 2 stages in the process. In the 2008 Tour, Mark emerged as the fastest sprinter in the world, winning 4 stages and coming second to a team mate.
Mark divides his time between Manchester and the continent. When at Manchester he works closely with coach Rod Ellingworth.
As well as being one of the fastest sprinters, Mark admits that the mental attitude of a sprinter is of utmost. In particular it is important to have confidence and self-belief when finishing in a mass bunched sprint at speeds of up to 65kmph. He also notes the importance of having a good team to get the sprinter to the front at the right time.
“Absolutely. Bunch sprinting when you have everyone, not just the guys going for the win but their teammates around you, for sure you have to have bottle but you don’t need as much when you have a great team around you. I didn’t have to take so many risks because I had such a great team. I didn’t have to duck and dive. I had guys to bring me to the front and keep me there and that made it a hell of a lot easier. When that happens you can win by a bigger margin and that was what was happening because I had the best team to set me up.”
Mark comes across as a confident and passionate cyclist. It is clear, that foremost is his desire to win – gone is the idea of British athletes happy to be the plucky loser.
“It is such a beautiful sport with the elation and the toughness. When you hear the Italians and Belgians talking about it, I would not want to be doing anything else. Even when I am suffering in the mountains — I love the mountains, I love suffering. Even if I am last, I still love it. That is part of our sport and that is why I train harder so I can suffer harder and I know it will be worth it”.
Gear When Sprinting
Mark says that when sprinting he will invariable use a 53 *11 for final sprint. Some of the other sprinters like Eric Zabel use a bigger gear 54*11. But, Mark says having a slightly lower gear gives you more flexibility for moving around the pack in the finishing stages. It also means he has tremendous leg speed, something developed from his track racing.
Lead Out Train
After winning a stage, Mark is often quick to praise the efforts of his team who work hard during whole stage to bring in breaks and then set up sprint victory. His team HTC Highroad are widely considered the best 'sprint train' in the world. In particular, his leadout man Mark Renshaw has been seen as a key figure in setting up many sprint finishes.
Stage Wins in the Tour de France
At the end of the 2011, Tour de France, Mark Cavendish has won a total of 20 stages. A figure that is sure to increase. He has a good chance of beating the record set by Eddy Merckx (32 stages)
Mark Cavendish in Tour de France
- 2007 - 0 stages, dnf after stage 8
- 2008 - 4 stages.
- 2009 - 6 stages
- 2010 - 5 stages
- 2011 - 5 stages. 1st Green points
Mark has also won 7 stages in the Giro D'Italia and 3 stages in the Vuelta Espagne
Green Jersey in the Tour de France
In 2011, Mark Cavendish became the first British rider to win the Green points jersey competition in the Tour de France. He had finished 2nd in 2009 and 2010, despite winning several stages.
Mark Cavendish Winning Stage in 2009 Tour de France
Other Major Victories
Photo by By scarlatti2004