Mark Cavendish will retire at the end of the season.
One of Britain’s most accomplished cyclists, Mark Cavendish, will retire at the end of the season.
He will tie the famous Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour de France stage victories in 2021.
Cavendish, 38, said at a press conference during the Giro d’Italia, “Cycling has been my life for over 25 years.”
“It’s taught me so much about life, dedication, loyalty, sacrifice, and perseverance – all important things to pass on to my children now that I’m a father.”
“The bike’s given me opportunities to see the world, meet incredible people involved and not involved in the sport – many of whom I call friends,” he continued.
“Today is Casper’s fifth birthday; it’s a rest day, so I can spend it with them.” Now it’s critical that I be there for every birthday, every school musical – that I be there for them.”
A glittering career with a happy ending
Cavendish had a successful sprinting career, winning races on flatter, faster stages, particularly in Grand Tours.
Since 2005, he has won 161 races and two green points jerseys on the Tour.
Cavendish’s other noteworthy victories include an omnium silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the rainbow jersey at the 2011 Road World Championships, the 2009 Milano-San Remo’monument’ one-day classic, 16 Giro stage wins, and three Vuelta a Espana stage wins.
He is presently riding with Astana Qazaqstan in the Giro, which concludes on Sunday in Rome.
Cavendish has been injured and unwell since 2017, and he may retire at the end of the 2020 season.
However, after regaining his form the following year, he won four more Tour stages and the green jersey in his second stint with the successful Quick Step team, which helped to revitalize his career.
Cavendish and his family were robbed violently at their house in 2021.
The following year, he was dropped from Quick Step’s Tour squad, and he joined with Astana Qazaqstan for 2023.
He will seek to shatter the Tour stage win record at this year’s race, which starts on July 1 in Bilbao, Spain.
“This is a perfect opportunity for me to say with absolute joy in my heart that this will be my final season as a professional cyclist,” he continued.
“Right now, there’s no need to discuss my short- and long-term plans; I’ll always be a cyclist.”
“But for this final period, I’d like to simply enjoy doing what has made me happy for the last 25 years, which is racing.”
Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, demonstrated promise as a BMX and mountain bike racer before becoming a part of Britain’s new era of cycling investment, which saw British Cycling dominate track cycling in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Cavendish began his professional career on a T-Mobile feeder squad in 2005, earning his first Tour stage for squad Columbia in 2008.
Throughout his career, he was dubbed the ‘Manx Missile’ because to his blistering finishing pace in bunch sprints.
At 5ft 7in, he has a low center of gravity and may ride in an aerodynamically beneficial position during high-speed bursts.
Cavendish dominated sprinting for many years and is seen as a major influence on future riders around the peloton, particularly fresh British talents like Quick Step’s Ethan Vernon.
Cavendish is known for his fiery personality on and off the bike, and he was videotaped berating a team mechanic before a stage during the 2021 Tour.
“When he steps out of the team bus, you never know if he’ll come back in five minutes like a wild bull because something is wrong with the bike,” former Quick Step coach Tom Steels told BBC Sport last year.
“But you can always talk to him, and once it’s resolved, it’s done.” It’s never personal, but you never know what he’ll say.”
Cavendish is hugely popular in the peloton and aggressively protects fellow riders who are chastised.
“Cav is without a doubt the sport’s greatest sprinter and will be remembered by fans all over the world for his 53 Grand Tour stage wins,” British Cycling performance director Stephen Park said.
“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 the British national champion’s jerseys – a quality we want to instill in every single member of our team.”