Sunday, July 15, 2012


Mark Cavendish@MarkCavendish
Absolutely lost for words to describe the honour I've just received from L'EQUIPE as the best sprinter in history. Thank you.

People who have an interest in sport but little interest in cycling often misunderstand how the Tour De France works in terms of the daily stages, the red, white, green and polka dot jerseys and the overall classification. The one thing they can understand easily though is the sight of a man powering his machine with two hundred metres to go down the finishing straight. There is as much skill required to hold onto a bike travelling at anything up to 60 k.p.h as there is in being able to climb Catergory One (hardest) climbs in the Alps or Pyrenees, the two disciplines require different skill sets.

Of course there are those cyclists who can combine both, Eddie Merckx is probably the best all rounder that the sport has ever seen, he could climb, sprint and time trial as well as win day races, the fact that Merckx won over 400 professional races in his career whilst Lance Armstrong won fewer than 100 is just one of many reasons that the Belgian is regarded by most, if not all, cycling fans as the greatest of all time.    

Cavendish can't time trial, can't climb to any great level of success, which is why it will be a miracle if he wins the Olympic cycling road race which requires Box Hill to be climb eight times, but boy can he sprint.  Watch the final minute of the final stage of the 2010 Tour De France and the moment at 25 seconds into the film that Cav sprints to the front is one of the great sporting moments captured on TV over the past twenty years in my opinion. Watching it on the big screen on the Champs Elysees was one of the highspots of my life and seeing it again on TV still brings me out in goosebumps. We can often live our lives vicariously through others but not on this occasion, this was simply witnessing the supreme achievement of human endeavour.  

If I'm honest I'm not expecting Cav to make it four in a row next Sunday, I think that there are four or five other genuine contenders for the honour of bringing down the curtain on this years Tour. I will however be expecting Bradley Wiggins to stand on the top of the podium and possibly the biggest ever crowd of Brits on the Champs Elysees to stand tearfully and listen to the Tour anthem followed by the British national anthem.


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