Published 15 April 2012
Known to many as the ‘fastest man on two wheels’, Mark Cavendish has his sights firmly set on winning Britain's first gold medal of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Having developed his cycling career through the British Olympic Academy programme, the Isle of Man born athlete began on a BMX bike before he was given a mountain bike when he was 13 years old. While he now specialises primarily in road racing, he has been both World and Commonwealth Games champion on the track.
- Mark once competed in the Latin American class at the ballroom dancing National Championships.
- For two years after he finished school he worked in a bank full-time.
- His girlfriend is ex-glamour model Peta Todd, and the couple have just had their first baby, Delilah Grace.
Cavendish initially began with track cycling, but took a hard hit at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. After finishing ninth in the Madison with his partner at the time, Bradley Wiggins, he was the only member of Team GB to not claim an Olympic medal.
On the road the ‘Manx Missile’ had a successful debut in 2007, gaining 11 wins which made him the most successful professional debutant in European road racing history. He also claimed victory in one of cycling's most classic races, the Milan-San Remo, in 2009.
In the period between 2008-2011 Cavendish won an amazing 20 Tour de France stage wins. And in 2011 he became the first British cyclist to win the coveted green points jersey.
In August 2011, Cavendish won the Olympic Road Race Test Event with the support of his GB team mates. He then went on to win the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, making him the first British male to win the prestigious Rainbow jersey since 1965. Later that year he was awarded with an MBE for his services to the sport, and crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
In 2012 Cavendish, joined Team Sky for the season leading up to the Olympics. He made his debut for the team in the Tour of Qatar in February with two stage wins, as well as sprinting to the title in the one-day race in Belgium later in the month. At the Giro d'Italia he won three stages and then, whilst helping Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France, he won three stages. This included winning the final stage on the Champs-Élysées for a record fourth successive year.
Mark was then the team leader of the Men's Road Race at the London Olympics. Unfortunately the GB team were left alone to set the pace and a breakaway of 30 riders got away and the team could not close the gap. This was a huge disappointment for Mark but he finished the season strongly winning three stages of the Tour f Britain.