21 things you didn't know about Mark Cavendish

From working in a bank to breaking records on the Champs-Élysées

Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Date of Birth21/05/1985
BornDouglas, Isle of Man
NicknameCav / The Manx Missile
Height1.75 metres
Weight70 kg
PartnerPeta Cavendish
Turned pro2005
TeamAstana Qazaqstan
BikeWilier Filante SLR
UCI wins123
Stage race wins0
Grand Tour stage wins53

Mark Cavendish is one of the most successful professional cyclists of the modern era.

Cavendish holds the joint record for the most Tour de France stage wins in history. He's currently tied on 34 with Belgian legend Eddy Merckx.

He is also currently the reigning British national champion.

After joining his new team Astana Qazaqstan earlier this season, Cavendish will be going in search of a record breaking 35th Tour stage win in July. 

National Championship 2022

(Image credit: Alex Whitehead / SWPix)

1. Before picking up a road bike, Cavendish rode BMX events at home on the Isle of Man.

2. He joined his first cycling club at the age of nine in Douglas.

3. Cavendish developed a reputation from a young age as being fiercely competitive, and he didn't like losing. His early coach, Dot Tilbury, told the BBC in 2012: "He didn't like losing. He started to win and often he would lap the other riders in the field".

4. After leaving school, he worked in a bank for two years to attempt to fund the beginning of a cycling career.

5. His first win in senior competition came in March 2004 at the Girvan Three Day race in Scotland.

Mark Cavendish

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. While on the GB academy, Cavendish along with the rest of the riders had to live on £58 a week.

7. The Manx-born rider's first team was called Team Sparkasse, a feeder team for the German T-Mobile outfit.

8. His big breakthrough as a professional on the road came at the 2007 Scheldeprijs, a race he won in Belgium.

9. His first Grand Tour stage wins came in 2008, with four at the Tour de France and two in the Giro d'Italia.

10. In 2009, Cavendish won Milan-San Remo, his first and only Monument victory to date. 

Mark Cavendish

(Image credit: Getty Images)

11. The Manxman became road World Champion in Copenhagen in 2011, beating Australia's Matthew Goss and André Greipel of Germany.

12. Later on that year, Cavendish was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). He also won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2011.

13. He has published three books: Boy Racer, At Speed, and Tour de Force, the final one detailing his return to winning ways at the Tour de France in 2021

14. Between 2009 and 2012, Cavendish won each of the final Tour de France stages in Paris on the Champs-Élysées, the unofficial sprinters world championships.

15. If you already knew the previous fact, did you know that by winning in Paris in 2012, Cavendish became the first and only rider to win on the Champs-Élysées wearing the hallowed rainbow jersey? You do now!

16. He has depression. Cavendish was diagnosed in 2018. In an interview last year, he said: "Depression you just associate with being sad – and it’s not sad. The amount of times I’ve tried to paint a picture. But you can’t, there’s no picture to paint. You either don’t have any feelings at all or how you act or respond is completely irrational."

Mark Cavendish wins in Paris in 2012

(Image credit: Getty Images)

17. On two previous occasions, the Manxman has been diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, otherwise known as glandular fever or mono, which kept him out of competition.

18. In Autumn 2013, Cavendish married model Peta Todd in London; he is stepfather to her son from a previous relationship, and they have had four further children together.

19. In November 2021, the couple were robbed at knifepoint in the middle of the night at home in Essex. Two men were jailed in February 2023 for their part in the armed robbery.

20. As a result of the incident, the Cavendish family have bought guard dogs to help secure his home

21. The Manxman holds an Honorary Doctorate in Science from the University of Chester for his contributions to cycling. 

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