The Return of Mark Cavendish: Sprinter Extraordinaire

The Return of Mark Cavendish: Sprinter Extraordinaire

Mark Cavendish is, at this point, a legend of the cycling game and is regarded, probably, as the best sprinter of all time. Earlier this week, he claimed his unfathomable 150th career stage win - an incredible achievement and one that, without illness robbing him of some of his best years, would undoubtably be even greater. Now, without a win in nearly three years before the start of 2021, he is back with a vengeance, claiming four sprint wins at the Tour of Turkey.

The 35 year-old is in the midst of an apparent career resurgence and, with that career in question as recently as the end of last year, it looks like he’s here to stay for a little while longer. With that in mind, we thought we’d have a look back at our top five picks of some of his best wins to date.

  1. Cavendish’s 22nd Tour de France victory came in the 28th stage of the 2012 edition. It looked as though two breakaway riders had pulled away and that the battle for first place would be between the two of them. Mark Cavendish had other ideas and surged from behind to outstrip them both and take an electrifying win.
  2. The 2008 edition of the Tour de France saw a green and fresh-faced Mark take it to the elite in stage 5. The longest stage in the Tour and completely flat, it was the perfect place for Cavendish to shine. French rider Nicolas Vogondy was out in front and well-placed to secure the win with a kilometre to go until the sprinters stepped on the gas and closed the gap. Cavendish was victorious.
  3. In the 2015 Tour de France, the emergence and dominance of German rider Marcel Kittel had called Cavendish’s sprinting pedigree into question so, in 2016, The Brit hit back at his critics with some dominance of his own, sprinting to the win in the very first stage of the Tour.
  4. Milan San Remo 2009 saw a 24-year old Cavendish take one of his earliest career wins with a surging performance to the first British win of the race in 45 years. Heinrich Haussler looked nailed on to win the last sprint, having pulled away from the main group. Cavendish’s sprinting was not to be called into question, however, as he powered his way up from a long way back to catch the Australian on the line and take the win.
  5. Copenhagen 2011. What better note to end on than Mark’s finest moment – his UCI World Championship victory in 2011 cemented him as elite even among the most elite cyclists on the planet. He powered down the home stretch, already in front, and held his nerve to defend the lead against the barrage of riders behind him. His finest moment, to be sure.

Are there any sprints from the Brit that we’ve missed out? Which sticks in your mind, from a pure cycling technique-based perspective has best win? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Instagram!