Mark Cavendish stage 12 Tour 2008

When the riders line up for the start of the 2009 Tour de France in Monaco next July, there will be a strong contingent of British riders among their number.

In 2008 Mark Cavendish became the first British rider to win four stages of the Tour de France in a single year. The Team Columbia rider left the race early to prepare for the Olympic Games in Beijing, but in 2009 he will have no such distractions, opening the way for more stage wins and perhaps the green jersey.

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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.