Mark Cavendish set aside his disappointment at not being selected for the Tour de France 2019 by going for a ride with a young fan.
Five year old Evan from Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire, enjoys riding his bike with dad Tom and both are members of their local Mansfield Road Club.
Mum Louise says that Evan has been a fan of Cav for years, having seen him race live a number of times, including at the 2018 Tour de France and 2019 Tour de Yorkshire.
“I broke the news to Evan on Tuesday evening that Mark hadn’t been chosen to join the team at the TDF this year,” Louise told Cycling Weekly, “he was heart broken.”
Louise then tweeted a picture of her son looking inconsolable because Cavendish had not being selected for the 2019 Tour de France, as team selectors decided to omit the 30-time Tour stage winner from their line-up.
His wife Peta Cavendish then got in touch and arranged to drive up to Nottinghamshire so that Mark could go for a ride with Evan.
Decked out in full Dimension Data kit, five year old Evan Llewelyn got to go for a spin with his hero. They rode around their village, with Evan taking Cavendish past his school and telling the former world champion how he rides his bike.
His mum Louise tweeted Cavendish and his wife Peta afterwards thanking them for “making Evan’s dream come true” and giving him an experience that “will last a lifetime”.
Peta replied, saying: “Evan, we were so happy to have been able to come and see you today…your little legs had quite the sprint! Was lovely to see a smile back on that face!”
The Manxman said the ride with Evan had the result of cheering them both up, after Cavendish had said he was “heartbroken” to be missing the race: “It was an absolute pleasure Evan! Couldn’t bear to to see you sad. I knew a bike ride would cheer us both up!”
Reports suggest that whilst Dimension Data head of performance, Rolf Aldag, wanted Cavendish to race the Tour, he was overruled by team principal Doug Ryder.
After being left out of the squad, Cavendish said: “I’m absolutely heart-broken by the decision that means I won’t be [at the Tour de France] this year. As I have done for my entire career, I targeted a specific time to be at peak form. This has pretty much always resulted in me hitting my goals or coming damn close.”
After a week in which Cavendish’s team-mate Mark Renshaw also announced his retirement, Peta reflected on a tough week for the sprinter and his family: “This week has been a tough one. Watching someone I love reeling from a decision not really based in ‘sport’ but still conducting themselves with dignity and composure.
“As a family we see the dedication, heart and sacrifice that make a champion…we live it. We have filled our week with sports days, school shows and kindness. Thank you for every message of support and kind word. Good luck to the guys racing this week, stay safe.”
In 2017, 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.
The air traffic controller said the rider was a “really nice, normal, down to earth guy”.