Mark Cavendish announced on Thursday night that he will fund three annual scholarships for promising sportspeople on his native Isle of Man.
"This island is great at producing sportspeople across the board, across all sports - but you can't show it when you're on an island, you need to get away," said Cavendish, speaking at the Isle of Man Sportsman of the Year awards.
"I was able to do that when I was younger for one reason, and that was through the help from Sports Aid Foundation. Without that, I really couldn't have got away. I was going away every Friday and then getting back on a Monday. Even with the amount that they gave me, sometimes I'd have to win races just to be able to eat my dinner on the ferry on the way home."
"It's obvious, you need backing not just in financial ways but also in everything in that the sports council does. I thought now I'm in a position to help people who are in the same boat - literally - that I was in."
Cavendish's donation will provide two-year sponsorships to cyclist Chris Nicholson, swimmers Charlotte Atkinson and Laura Kinley.
Geoff Karran, Isle of Man Sport chairman, also announced that some of Cavendish's sponsorship will be used to fund cyclists aged between 13 and 16 to attend British Cycling's regional school of racing.
"Part of Mark's donation will be used each year to ensure we can send riders into this programme and they will go as members of Cavendish Racing Isle of Man," said Karran. "This is a fantastic bequest and gives a fantastic opportunity to young cyclists."
Cavendish won the Isle of Man Sportsman of the Year award at the ceremony which took place on Thursday night at the Villa Marina's Royal Hall. It's the eighth consecutive year that Cavendish has secured the annual accolade
Last year, Cavendish won the road race World Championships title and the green jersey at the Tour de France. He also scooped the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. In terms of wins, Cavendish is by far Britain's most successful professional cyclist in history.
Cavendish is currently taking a short break from racing as he awaits the birth of his daughter with partner Peta Todd. He is aiming to defend his green jersey at this year's Tour de France, then challenge for the Olympic road race title in London at the end of July.
Mark Cavendish: Rider Profile
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Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.
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