Lhe Isle of Man is situated between Ireland and Great Britain. In that place with rocky shores and hit by the crosswind of the sea, Mark Cavendish one day grabbed the cross bike that was in the garage of his house and, at 11 years old, he pointed to the horizon to pedal like a racing car.
It could not be otherwise. The speed floats in the environment of that islet where the most dangerous motorcycle race in the world takes place, the Tourist Trophy, which has claimed nearly 260 fatalities since 1907.
Cavendish, who had previously played soccer, took a liking to cycling, and developed a Ph.D. in speed tests, where he won three world titles on the track and one on the road, as well as an Olympic medal.
But the remarkable thing about Cavendish as a sprinter is now in the Tour de France. The 36-year-old Thunder of the Isle of Man has just won two stages this week, the last one on Thursday, bringing it to 32 such victories in Gallic lands and is two of the all-time mark of a monster of this sport like the Cannibal Eddy Merckx.
Don’t ask me about that anymore, please ”, answers Cavendish about that record. As a good race sprinter, the mountains become a mouthful that ends up unhinged your stomach. His hunting ground are the flat stages, where he can propel himself at the speed of sound, and of those there are five left on this Tour.
I suffer a lot in the mountains ”, Cavendish revealed in an interview years ago,“ but since I suffer there I also suffer in training, to get used to it ”.
Quite remarkable is this present from Cavendish, who for the last two seasons was left blank due to injuries and consumed by depression, to the extent that his team, the Bahrain McLaren, thanked him in 2020.
This year, the Deceuninck Quick Step, his new squad, had him among their ranks, but he was not contemplated to be part of the eight cyclists who would contest the Tour, until a teammate was injured and Cavendish entered at the last minute. What are the turns of destiny: Deceuninck is a Belgian team, the same nationality of Merckx, whom the Thunder of the Isle of Man, although it does not want to recognize it, has its sights in front of its handlebars.
Mark Simon Cavendish
Age: 36 years
On the track, he has three world titles in Madison in 2005, 2008 and 2016, and a silver in the Omnium of the 2016 Rio Olympics. On the road, a world title in 2011; 50 stages won in total in the Grand Tours: 32 in the Tour, 15 in the Giro d’Italia and three in the Tour of Spain.
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