‘He’s the greatest sprinter of all time’ - Geraint Thomas pays tribute to retiring Mark Cavendish

During Monday’s second rest day at the Giro d’Italia, Cavendish announced he would retire from professional cycling at the end of the current season

Geraint Thomas
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Geraint Thomas has paid tribute to Mark Cavendish - his friend and former teammate - after the Manxman announced he would retire from professional cycling at the end of the current season.

Cavendish’s announcement came on Monday, during the second rest day of the Giro d'Italia, in a press conference organised by his current team Astana Qazaqstan.

Speaking to the media later in the afternoon, Thomas revealed that Cavendish had told him of his plans to retire before the race had got underway.

“I didn’t really believe him,” Thomas said. “I kind of thought he’d always keep going. He’s had an incredible career and obviously, he’s still racing now. He’s still got to get this record at the Tour and hopefully win a stage here [at the Giro]. I think we’ve known each other for about 25 years which is crazy. Thymen [Arensman], my teammate, is 23 so that kind of puts into perspective how old we are really.”

Thomas was part of the Great Britain team when Cavendish won the 2011 World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark and highlighted that particular race as a key moment in the years spent racing together.

“It’s an unbelievable career that he’s had, and I’m really proud to have been a teammate of his for a long time, helping him win the Worlds and that was great,” he added. “He’s the greatest sprinter of all time really when you see his record. It’s been an honour to ride with him. We’ve raced as under 23s and juniors all over the world and got a lot of experience together.”

“It’s kind of strange to see him retire actually, as it means I’m going to be soon as well. It’s a funny one, as you kind of think you’ll just always keep racing your bike but really you know you’re not.”

When asked if he had contemplated his own exit from the sport, Thomas shrugged off talk of imminent retirement.

“Like I said before at the start of this race, I just want to concentrate on this race,” Thomas said. “Talk has started with this team about extending, but I’m going to cross that bridge in a couple of weeks after the race.”

Full of confidence 

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Tom Thewlis

Tom has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2022 and his news stories, rider interviews and features appear both online and in the magazine. 

Since joining the team, he has reported from some of professional cycling's biggest races and events including the Tour de France and the World Championships in Glasgow. He has also covered races elsewhere across the world. 

As well as on the ground reporting, Tom writes race reports from the men's and women's WorldTour and helps with coverage of UK domestic cycling.