Cycling fan Carl Grzegorzek got the opportunity of a lifetime on Friday when he rode around a lap of the Yas Marina F1 Circuit in Abu Dhabi with Mark Cavendish.
Grzegorzek – an English air traffic controller at the Abu Dhabi International Airport – was the winner of a competition run by a local motor company to get the chance of riding a lap of the 5.5-kilometre Formula One circuit with the Manxman last Tuesday ahead of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
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As you may expect, Cavendish made a big impression on Grzegorzek, who was evidently worried that he may not be able to keep up.
“Mark was a gentleman, he’s just a really nice, normal, down to earth guy, and he didn’t go too fast for me, so we could chat the whole way around,” he told Emirates Motor Company, who ran the competition.
Despite the easy pace, Grzegorzek still finished in slightly worse shape than his riding companion.
“I was pretty puffed out by the end of the lap, but he didn’t even draw breath.”
“I got to ask Mark about his plans for the season, and as usual, he is looking forward to the Tour de France, which is his big goal again this season. But, he also talks very highly of the Abu Dhabi event and the UAE in general as he loves it here.”
However, the occasion was slightly marred when Grzegorzek’s GPS cycling app did not record the ride properly, leaving him with incomplete data on his Strava account for the momentous occasion.
“Me myself and Cav. Just the one lap. Didn’t want to wear him out. And it didn’t even bloody record properly!” Grzegorzek commented on his uploaded ride.
Cavendish went on to win stage one of the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour and led the race into Saturday’s stage three, which featured a mountain-top finish.
Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) took the overall victory on Sunday, where Cavendish was pipped to the line by fellow sprinters Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott).