British Cycling has paid tribute to ‘Manx missile’ Mark Cavendish MBE, who has today announced his intention to retire from professional cycling at the end of this year, bringing down the curtain on 20 successful years as a member of the pro peloton and Great Britain Cycling Team.
Performance Director Stephen Park CBE said: “On behalf of British Cycling, I would like to congratulate Mark on a truly outstanding career.
“Cav is without doubt the sport’s greatest sprinter and will be remembered by fans across the world for his 53 grand tour stage wins, and I’m sure that we will all be cheering him on as he looks to add to that total in his final months of racing.
“From a Great Britain Cycling Team perspective, we have seen him win rainbow jerseys on both the road and the track, a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games, and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year title in 2011.
“What most stands out in Cav as a sportsperson is the overwhelming sense of pride he showed each time he pulled on both the Great Britain Cycling Team and British national champion’s jerseys – a quality we want to instil in every single member of our team.
“Professional and passionate, Cav has been a real asset to our team over the years and will be remembered as both a peerless rider and a fantastic teammate with time for everyone. We wish him the very best of luck both for the rest of his final season in the peloton and in the next stage of his career.”
Cavendish joined British Cycling’s Junior Academy programme back in 2003, winning his first world title on the track in the Madison in 2005, partnering with Rob Hayles in the event in LA. He signed for the professional team T-Mobile as a stagiaire in 2006, and in 2008 he really started to make his name by winning two stages of the Giro d’Italia and four at the Tour de France, making him the most successful British grand tour cyclist at the age of just 22.
In the 15 years since, Cavendish has amassed a total of 53 grand tour stage wins, most recently four stages at the 2021 Tour de France and one at the 2022 Giro d’Italia. He now has 34 stage victories at the Tour de France, placing him alongside Eddy Merckx as the Tour’s most prolific stage winner, with opportunities to add to that total in July.
Wearing Great Britain Cycling Team colours, Cavendish’s accomplishments include victory at the Copenhagen UCI Road World Championships in 2011 and the silver medal in Doha in 2016, winning the Madison world title in 2005, 2008 and 2016, and winning the silver medal in the Omnium event at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
Cavendish has also twice been crowned British national road race champion, with his second coming last summer in Dumfries and Galloway.