Mark Cavendish‘s rainbow jersey is the culmination of three years’ hard work by British Cycling to put the Manxman in a winning position, and the new world champion says that he will wear it next season on behalf of everyone who helped him to win it.

“When the course route was announced three years ago, we knew it was our best chance to bring the jersey back to Great Britain since Tom Simpson won it in 1965,” said Cavendish.

“It’s been a three-year project organised by [coach] Rod Ellingworth, and has been all about getting together the best guys to help me win here.”

Far from only wanting to thank the seven riders who rode for him on Sunday, Cavendish said that he was indebted to all the other British ProTeam riders who had worked so hard to secure the points to allow the GB team to come to Copenhagen with an eight-man team.

“I want to thank all of them for having helped. I’m sitting here wearing it now on behalf of them,” Cavendish continued. “That is, all the guys who helped secure the points to get eight starters here, plus the coaches, and especially Rod. We started this project three years ago, and we’ve really done everything to ensure we were in the best position.

“So it’s not me who’s won this. The guys rode out of their skins today, and I won on behalf of them. I’ll wear this jersey next year, but there’s always going to be seven guys in my heart when it comes to this jersey. It’s a shame that they can’t wear it as well, because I just did the last part today.”

Starting the race as one of the favourites, Cavendish says he knew that Great Britain couldn’t count on too much support from the other teams. Their closest ally, it turned out, was third-placed Andre Greipel’s German team, who shared a lot of the work on the front of the bunch to keep the pace high and later reel in the breakaways.

“We knew that we would be limited by the amount of support we’d get,” said Cavendish. “We knew Germany would ride, and we thought that the USA would ride, but they didn’t, really. Maybe they didn’t have faith in [their sprinter] Tyler Farrar – I don’t know.”

But after Germany lost some of their riders behind the crash that came with five-and-a-half laps to go, it was left up to the GB team, said Cavendish.

“No one else was really willing to help,” he explained. “We were attacked every which way by the other nations, but we’ve got the best riders in the world riding for Great Britain. Bradley Wiggins pretty much rode the last lap at the front on his own. He did an incredible job. All I had to do was sit there.”

Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas led the race around the last corner, and then it was up to Cavendish on the uphill sprint to the finish.

“A lot of people had me down as the favourite, but others said that the finish was too hard for pure sprinters,” Cavendish said. “Three hundred metres uphill is not a hill – it’s a sprint like any other, just 15 kilometres slower, that’s all.”

Realising he was boxed in on the right as the road rose, Cavendish knew he had to find a way out.

“I wanted to go with 150 metres to go, but had to go with 200 to go when a gap opened,” he explained. “When I kick, I normally know if I’m going to win… I did see Gossy [Matt Goss, second] come up, but it was never going to be walk in the park against the greatest sprinters in the world.”

Cavendish now hopes to honour the jersey, with 2010 world champion Thor Hushovd as his reference.

“If I can do the jersey justice half as well as Thor has this past year, I’ll be happy,” said Cavendish. “He’s really done it proud this year. It’s all about panache and showing that winning the jersey wasn’t just a lucky ride, and that you worked for it.”

But first it’s time to celebrate.

“I love Copenhagen. This is the best city in the world, in my opinion, so yeah, I’m going to be out celebrating with the guys tonight.”

Related links

Cavendish wins Worlds road race

Team GB dominated World Champs, says Brailsford

Project Rainbow Jersey

Road World Championships 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Mark Cavendish: Rider Profile

  • Crazytrucker

    I dispute that Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome don’t have the mentality to win, alright they may not have won the Vuelta, but come on two Brits on the podium of a Grand Tour? Though I felt that Froome finished the stronger of the two by far, and that the tactics by both were wrong, they didn’t attack often enough. And Brad won the Dauphine (excuse the spelling) and who knows how he would have faired in Le Tour if he hadn’t busted his collar bone? Though I’m slightly perturbed that he (Brad) is putting the T de F before the Olympics because he must surely be a contender for medals in 2012. But having said that we are still capable of a mighty medal haul without Brad.
    I also apologise for my statement about Cav not thanking his teams, yes he does, perhaps I’d like him more if he didn’t, but I was shouting for him on Sunday

  • Ken Workman

    As well as adding my congrats to Cav, can someone suggest to him that perhaps a fitting form of thanks to the GB team mates who helped him acheive the title, would be to have their names (or at the very least their initials) boldly embroidered on each of his champions jerseys for next year. After all, he does say it was a team victory.
    Once again, really well done all concerned, this is great news for the British cycling community.

  • rob

    He just comes across as a really nice bloke, brilliant win, well deserved. fantastic

  • Doug Manton

    niether Wiggins or Froome has that mentality neither is capable of winning the TdF overall or indeed a stage . dave w, are you for real ?

  • frank green

    Please could the british patriots tell me where on the cycling outfit does the name Great Britain appear?
    The name SKY is plastered on it. As the people from liverpool fight to have justice from a hillsborough report, they drag the name of sky from the bottom of their shoe.

  • Carl Sanders

    Fantastic, congratulations to the whole team for making this happen, great day for cycling in the UK.

  • arronski

    A real- feel-good-vibe on the bike in the UK at the moment,, thanks to the (British Stars) at the World’s,, Road cycling has never been so popular … …even the summer has come back !!!

  • Dou Scot

    I get sick of reading US fans complaining about Cavendish – get over it chaps, he’s just not from your country.

    And if they don’t like losing to Brits imagine how bad they’ll feel when cyclists from other countries like China start beating them too!

  • matspeed

    Clearly Cavendish is the best sprinter in a road race but it seems a shame to ride 260k and have it end in a bunch sprint.

    Cycling for me is about individual achievement and as such these team suited courses don’t appeal.

    Cadel Evans win in 2009 was for me far superior

  • PBo

    Freire – would you call Cav a cheat to his face, or are you only this brave when hiding behind your Mum’s computer?

  • Bfd

    Amazing job by the whole team! All of them contributed to the win and yes, Cav is always grateful. To be a winner like him, sometimes you appear arrogant, but that’s a winners mentality and something we don’t get a lot of in Britain. +1 for SPOTY from me.

  • dave w

    yes it was a great team performance but lets not forget that performance was orchestrated by one man and one man alone Cav and his will to win Cav is a winner with a champions desire and that motivates the people around him to work for him if as seems likely Cav joins Sky for next year the team should work for him and him alone for Cav knows how to win and is good at it niether Wiggins or Froome has that mentality neither is capable of winning the TdF overall or indeed a stage and we should be putting all our eggs in the Cav basket. Being a winner is not the done thing in the uk it is better to be a gallent loser Cav is not a gallent loser and deserves our adulation.

  • David Guyler

    Rainbows rising!
    As Mark Cavendish said: Chris Froom, Bradley Wiggins, Steve Cummings, Jeremy Hunt, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard and Captain David Millar all deserve a rainbow jersey too for protecting him and for relentlessly chasing down the breakaways hour after hour! You’re a band of heroes and this was an inspirational and uplifting performance for all those involved in team sports.
    Seeing Cav. cross the line crowned champion of the world was just as thrilling as watching Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal in 2003 both of which brought tears of joy to my eyes.

  • Mike Short

    Awesome result for Cav and GB Cycling. Never underestimate how tough it is to go into a race as the overwhelming favourite and then to deliver. The scrutiny Cav”s been under must feel pretty intense. GB cycling had a plan that everyone knew about and had known about ever since the course was announced. Despite concerted efforts to derail that plan it was still successful.

    Parcours like Copenhagen come around once a decade so 2011 was Cav’s big chance to get the Stripes for the year – and he pulled it off. Chapeau, Sir.

    WRT Aussies being bad losers; yes, we hate losing but to infer that Australians are bad sports is plain wrong. Australians heartily congratulate success and those who are successful – we’d just prefer it if it was one of us.

    One comparison between Australia and GB can be found on the front pages of the national press. When Cadel won in 2009 in Mendrisio it was front page news. Unfortunately it didn’t register in quite the same way here. That is a crying shame.

    Lastly, isn’t it time the SPOTY became the Sports Performance Of The Year? Its not about personality surely?

  • Freire

    The worst fact will be when the World Champion will have to finish mountain stages next to his team´s car, cheating…

  • Ken Evans

    “The guys rode out of their skins today,…..”

    The GeeBees were very professional,
    and never lost their cool despite serious attacks
    from the best in the world.

    None of the other teams were as good as the GBs,
    a break could have stayed away,
    (even though the course was as flat as a Belgian Kermesse),
    but the GBs kept everyone else under control.

    So far TeamSky haven’t ridden as professionally,
    they should learn from Copenhagen.

  • frank green

    That was a boring course and that was a boring race, i cant see anything to get excited about. A few hills and rises would be far better- never liked sprinters myself.

  • J Dunn

    To be fair to the Australian selectors, having Renshaw might even have made it easier for Cavendish.

    As it was, Cavendish came off Goss’s wheel. With Renshaw in that finishing straight would have been an even bigger invitation.

  • Dave

    Was watching live in Brisbane as Cav crossed the line shouting my head off as next door were also watching rooting (not the aussie slang) for goss…fantastic day for British cycling and gives me lots to crow about over here…lots of talk here about how mark renshaw would have made the difference but aussies are just bad losers pure and simple….can’t wait for the olympics…

  • Ali Manners

    Never shouted so loud at the TV as yesterday. It was simply awesome!!! Cav has to get Sports Personality of the year as he is our best sportman and boy does he have personality!!!!! As a Mum of two boys – I am so proud that we have such a great role model in British sport. And as for the GB team – words fail me, they were sublime.

  • Martin Pavlovic

    Fantastic job! Fantastic Cav , all team have done fantastic job!!! Cav for Sports Personality …..I`m so happy

  • exhotpursuit

    i was up the ventoux to pay respect to Tom,so it just felt right when the team did it . Cav deserves it and his detractors should get their heads examined;whats not to like?

  • Richard Guymer

    Cav”s a star but we all know that. So are Wiggo and G. Chris Froome is pretty handy as are Jeremy Hunt,Steve Cummings and David Millar.Well done to you all, but Ian Stannard proved that he is a star also. Not so many years ago he was like stick. Now he’s a power house and a great rider in his own right. Well done Ian.keep it up!.

  • Frank Reynolds

    Every thing that needs to be said has been said.


    We as the Cycling Fraternity must not forget to Vote in the ; B.B.C. Sports View Personality of the Year Award.for Mark Cavendish

    We must do our best that all of our Award Winning Cyclists are presented to the Audience and all of our Team in the Road Championships must be seen by all, They all deserve the Plaudits that they all richly deserve.

  • Crazytrucker

    If Knighthoods are to be handed out then the whole team should get one! The GB team, all of them, the women, the juniors, the under-23’s shouuld get team of the year unless the cricketers get it.

  • Greg

    Remember there is a team award at the Sports Personality of the year award so

    Cav for Sports Personality
    The team for Team of the year
    Dave Brailsford for coach (but to reflect the contribution of all the staff & cyclists who have performed through and for him)

  • Miguel

    Tom Simpson would have loved this….a SUPERB team, something he dreamed of…Tom had to do it on his own…..but must be looking down loving these fantastic Brit Force winning….well done all the team and Cav for the icing on the cake…

  • Hovis

    Crazytrucker writes: “He even had the good grace, for once in my opinion to say that all the team should have the Rainbow jersey” Sorry mate, you can say what you like about Cav, but he ALWAYS thanks his team.

  • arronski

    Vote Mark Cavendish as Sports Personality of the Year, and best team award !

  • J Dunn

    Forget winning the crappy BBC Sports Personality of the Year – let’s campaign for him to be given a knighthood.

    Arise, Sir Cav.

  • the darlo pedal pusher

    Yesterday was one of the biggest sporting achievements by any British team I have witnessed in my 43 years. Cav will get the plaudits but Wiggo’s stint on that final lap was as remarkable, so was the effort of the whole team. The performance of that mens elite team was a fitting climax to a very successful worlds. Britain’s cyling is truely a world force and I agree with artie that we should have a campaign for Cav to win BBC spoty. A vote for Cav will be a vote for GB cyling and therefore a vote for ALL our cycling teams.

  • paul

    ditto on SPOTY comments.

    Cycling Weekly need, sorry MUST, start a campaign for every reader to vote Mark Cavendish as Sports Personality of the Year. Along with Brailsford as coach of the year.

  • Crazytrucker

    I am not a fan, nor have I ever been of Cavendish’s, but yesterday I shouted myself hoarse when I saw him come through that pack, one second it all looked lost as ‘G’ looked round for him and he wasn’t there, and the next, the Manx dodah was coming away with the victory!
    He even had the good grace, for once in my opinion to say that all the team should have the Rainbow jersey and so they should. What a team effort, just wish the TV had shown them all together, even when Cav was waiting for his teamates some official was shepherding him away.
    My heroes will always be Tommy Simpson and Eddy Merckx but the British Team to me will always be the winners of the 2011 World Championships even though Cav wears the jersey! Perhaps he’ll be riding for Sky nest year? Chapeaux to David Millar for being the ‘boss’ on the road yesterday for doing an ace job, and to Brad for riding his guts out for Cav and the team when he could have been going for himself, , and for Ian Stannard and ‘G” for bringing him home! Well done guys and the whole GB team, for we shoulda had a medal in the Elite Womens event as well! I’m proud of you all, and we are the #1 cycling nation, as well as the #1 Test Match team something to shout about for at least until the Olympics when we can do it all again, if my voice and heart can take it!

  • artie

    I agree with fran the man, I have followed cycling for 50 years and that includes all of Cav’s career, yes he has had his spats, haven’t we all, but he has always made up, apologised when necessary, and always thanks everyone for putting him in the right place. That is not the actions of a spoilt brat, it is a man who has a talent and uses it well. To all the Mark knockers out there – give him a break and support him. Lastly if he doesn’t win Sports personality of the year it is a fix. Everyone get out and vote for him and get your friends, family and colleagues to do the same.

  • Robin

    Top ride by the British boys and a fantastic finish by Cav. Amazing that he managed to extricate himself from the bunch, given that he came out of the last corner poorly placed. Arise King Cav!

    Skin suit, funny helmet for Cav – presumably all part of the marginal gains thing?

    Just one negative, that GB kit has to go. The Belgians, French, Aussies and even the Germans all look smart and well turned out. Unlike us.

  • Howard Somerset

    Great day for Cav and GB cycling.

  • adam

    Fran the Man – I agree. Whatever anyone says about Cav, he ALWAYS thanks his team and staff. He knows what they’ve done for him and he obviously appreciates it. Great ride by everyone…
    So chuffed about this result. Such great news for the whole of British Cycling. Maybe – just maybe – the rest of the national press will now have to take note and cover some races properly! (Sadly, I won’t see it since I live in Helsinki…).

  • Ian Essex

    Fantastic!!!! I was shouting and whooping with joy when Cav crossed the line. My wife was upstairs at the time and wondered what the hell had happened! Cav arrogant? I don’t think so. The first thing he always acknowledges and thanks(as he did today) are his team mates.

  • Fran The Man

    Someone on VeloNews called Cav a “spoiled brat”. I don’t know what his reference point was, but I don’t think spoiled brats speak or behave the way Cav has today. Chapeau to all eight of the team, and to everyone else who helped Cav make history. Awesome achievement!

  • arronski

    Fantastic ride by the Brits, first class ride by everyone, Cavendish is a machine !