Cavendish holds nothing back. The closest to finding out what it feels like to be in the midst of a bunch sprint. It feels as though Cavendish is talking directly to you, and he is, as you would expect, brutally honest. Boy Racer then goes at least some way in giving us an insight into the psyche of Cavendish and as a result makes fascinating pre-Tour reading. The book totally changed my perspective on Cavendish, and will do the same for better or for worse for any cycling fan that sits down and gives Boy Racer a chance. Boy Racer redresses the balance.
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One-day races and Classics. He is considered one of the greatest road sprinters of all time. After failing to win a medal at the Summer Olympics he did not compete on track until , subsequently winning his third UCI Track Cycling World Championships title with Wiggins in the madison in , and an individual silver medal in the Omnium at the Summer Olympics.
As a road cyclist, Cavendish turned professional in , and achieved eleven wins in his first professional season. Cavendish has won thirty Tour de France stages, putting him second on the all-time list , contributing to a joint third-highest total of forty-eight Grand Tour stage victories.
He won the road race at the road world championships , becoming the second British rider to do so. He won seven Grand Tour stages in , one in and four in This included a win on stage one of the Tour de France , claiming him his first Tour de France yellow jersey of his career.
Cavendish crashed with Peter Sagan on stage four of the Tour de France , forcing him out of the race. Cavendish continued producing good results until August , when he was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus. Before his diagnosis, Cavendish was able to compete in the Tour de France but was disqualified after not making the cut-off time on stage eleven.
He said: "I was always riding a bike, getting dropped in little races. The very next day I went out and beat everyone. Cavendish worked in a bank for two years after leaving school to earn enough money for an attempt at a professional career.
He gained a place as one of the first six riders selected for British Cycling 's Olympic Academy for junior riders in having almost been rejected because of his relatively poor performance in stationary bike tests. Cavendish progressed well at the academy. Ellingworth said, "Cav kind of liked it" when asked about the rigid rules and "dictatorship style" of the academy. He won gold in the madison with Rob Hayles at the track world championships in Los Angeles. They had not raced together before as Hayles' usual partner, Geraint Thomas , had crashed during training a few weeks earlier  —but finished one lap ahead of the field to claim the gold medal, followed by the Dutch and Belgian teams, Cavendish's first world title.
Cavendish turned professional in with Team Sparkasse. During this time, he rode the Tour de Berlin and Tour of Britain.
He rode for the Isle of Man on the track at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, riding the scratch race. Hayles then led him out for the sprint to win gold for the Isle of Man. The race time was His success at the Tour de Berlin led to a post as a stagiaire with the T-Mobile Team from August until the end of the season. His best result on the road was in the Tour of Britain where he came second twice and third once and won the points classification. His breakthrough came at the Scheldeprijs race in Belgium, which he won.
He crashed in stages one and two and abandoned the race at stage eight as it reached the Alps. Although he had taken two top-ten placings he was unhappy not to have had a top-five placing. Cavendish took his eleventh win in early October—the Circuit Franco-Belge—to equal Petacchi's record.
In , Cavendish returned to the track for the world championships in Manchester. Cavendish was brought in to partner Bradley Wiggins in the madison, as Hayles failed a routine blood test, and was subsequently banned. With thirty-five laps left to race, however, Wiggins launched an attack which helped them reach the field ten laps later.
They took the lead due to the superior points they had collected in the sprints. They held on to win the gold medal, finishing with nineteen points, ahead of Germany on thirteen. On the road, Cavendish won his first stages of a Grand Tour with two victories in the Giro d'Italia and four stages in the Tour de France , the first of which on stage five. He won also stage eight, twelve and thirteen. The rest of his season was successful, with a total of eleven further race wins, including three each at the Tour of Ireland and the Tour of Missouri where he won his only points classification of the season.
He also won two stages at the Tour of California , again beating Boonen in the sprint finishes. Cavendish repeated his two-stage victory at the Three Days of De Panne , also winning the points classification.
He was caught behind a crash and failed to make it back for the sprint the next day. Cavendish soon asserted his sprinting dominance on the race, however, gaining three stage wins before abandoning it after stage thirteen, citing a need to rest in preparation for the Tour de France. During the season, Cavendish developed a remarkable partnership with his lead out man , Mark Renshaw.
Continuing his run of success, he won stages two, three, ten, eleven, nineteen and twenty-one of the Tour de France. It also equalled Barry Hoban 's British record of eight stage wins.
A lung infection forced him to withdraw from the race before stage four. He was involved in a crash and did not finish. Following a poor start to the season, he found form at the Volta a Catalunya , finishing seventh in the time-trial and winning stage two.
He appeared to veer off line and brought down Haussler and several other riders, raising criticism from other teams regarding his riding style. Cavendish entered the Tour de France. Overhead camera footage showed him failing to negotiate a corner after entering too fast and turning too late.
He then leaned his shoulder into a fellow rider as he travelled away from the racing line. His team won the team time trial with Cavendish finishing first, taking the leader's jersey. Cavendish had a slow start to failing to win a race until late February when he won stage six of the Tour of Oman. Cavendish got his first grand tour victory of the year by winning stage ten of the Giro, denying claims that he had illegally held on to his team car when climbing Mount Etna on stage nine.
Cavendish was docked twenty points for finishing outside the time limit after stage nine and again after eighteen. Over the following weeks, Cavendish took part in the post-Tour criteriums. After the team controlled the whole race it came down to a sprint finish with Cavendish crossing the line in first place taking the rainbow jersey.
In November, Cavendish made a cameo return to the track, competing in the Revolution event at Manchester Velodrome.
He won the scratch race, his first win on the track of any kind since Cavendish began his season at the Tour of Qatar.
After recovering from illness, he won stage three—his first victory for Team Sky. In the Tour de Romandie , he showed his ability in short time trials by finishing third in the prologue but did not take any stage wins. A week later, Cavendish took his season victories to five by winning the sprint on stage two of the Giro d'Italia.
The following day, he was again in contention for victory on stage three, but in the sprint, Androni Giocattoli—Venezuela 's Roberto Ferrari aggressively switched lanes, clipping Cavendish and sending him to the ground, causing other riders to fall including overall leader Taylor Phinney BMC Racing Team. He did win the minor Azzurri d'Italia and stage combativeness classifications.
Despite failing to win any of the four, mostly flat, stages, Cavendish's consistency ensured that he won the overall general classification—the first of his professional career—by eight seconds.
In July, Cavendish won stage two of the Tour de France , his twenty-first tour stage win. He was seen carrying bottles for team-mates and even setting the pace on a Pyrenean climb. Cavendish's main target for the season was the road race at the Olympics , which was held six days after the final stage of the Tour de France. The team aimed to control the race and allow him to take a sprint victory on The Mall.
However, the team were forced to set the pace for the majority of the race, with few nations offering any support, and on the final climb of the Box Hill circuit, a large breakaway group of over thirty riders formed.
Despite the best efforts of Stannard, Wiggins, Millar, Froome and Sky team-mate Bernhard Eisel, the breakaway could not be brought back leaving Cavendish to finish twenty-ninth, forty seconds behind the winner, Alexander Vinokurov of Kazakhstan.
Cavendish won three stages of the Tour of Britain , crossing the line first in Dumfries, Blackpool and Guildford. In May, Cavendish won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia , taking the pink jersey for the third time in his career. This victory moved him above Robert Millar to the top of Cycling Weekly ' s all-time ranking of British professional riders.
By doing so, Cavendish became only the fifth rider to win the points classification in all three Grand Tours. On 23 June, Cavendish won the British national road race championship , around the street circuit in Glasgow. He overtook David Millar on the home straight and held off a challenge by Ian Stannard, who recovered from a puncture in the penultimate lap to claim silver. In July, he won stage five of the Tour de France , giving him twenty-four career Tour stage wins.
In September, he returned to the track for the first time since the Olympic Games in Beijing , competing at the velodrome in Ghent for the International Belgian Open. Finishing second in the scratch race and third in the madison with Owain Doull, Cavendish had not ruled out the prospect of competing in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro having earned enough points to qualify for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics.
He repeated the win three days later to take stage seven—again out-sprinting Italy's Elia Viviani to the finish on Guildford High Street.
He also won the final stage in London the next day. A quiet start to the year, Cavendish decided not to compete in the Giro d'Italia. His best Classics result was a fifth place in the Milan-San Remo. He won four stages and the points classification at the Tour of Turkey. He suffered a separated right shoulder and did not start the next stage. Cavendish competed in the Tour of Britain in September, coming third in the first stage in Liverpool and second in the final stage in London.
Overall, his season proved to be one of his least successful,  winning eleven races but gaining no Grand Tour stage wins. He later ruled out an attempt to enter the track cycling competitions at the Summer Olympics due to his road commitments. In contrast to the previous year, he had a successful start to the season. He won five races by mid-February, including two stages, the points classification and the general classification at the Dubai Tour.
On 16 August, Cavendish returned to the track, winning the madison with Bradley Wiggins in the first round of the Revolution cycling series at the newly opened Derby Velodrome. The team principal, Doug Ryder, described the move as "a big step forward for the team. In February, Cavendish rode the Tour of Qatar , taking the opening stage and the general classification for the second time. On 2 July, he won the opening stage of the Tour de France in a sprint finish at Utah Beach , taking his twenty-seventh stage win, and donning the yellow jersey for the first time.
This win put him in the lead of points classification. He finished second to Michael Matthews at the finish line in Revel and won the stage's intermediate sprint.
The chain gang
In Boy Racer, cycling super-sprinter Mark Cavendish explains his phenomenal rise to the top of the sport. Cav describes with riveting detail the sprint victories that propelled him into the history books. Cavendish describes his six Tour de France stage wins, his battle with sprint rival Thor Hushovd, and his overall win at Milan-San Remo. Boy Racer will be available in bookstores, bike shops, and online in late May, soon after Cavendish races the Tour of California and just weeks before he starts the Tour de France. Along the way, Cavendish takes us behind the scenes of the Tour de France to unmask the intrigue, the mayhem, the hysteria, and the adrenalin-fueled, all-out chaos of professional cycling. Born and raised on the Isle of Man, Mark Cavendish became a world track champion as a teenager in , a Commonwealth Games gold medalist a year later, and in regained his world title on the track with British teammate Bradley Wiggins.
Boy Racer: My Journey to Tour de France Record-Breaker
This book charts the rise of the fastest sprinter in the world, from his earliest foray into bike racing BMX up to his record breaking Tour de France stage victories. You get to see the cycling world through his eyes, and his frank and brutal portrayal matches his persona. His honest account pulls no punches, just like his explosive sprinting power. His feisty temperament shines through throughout his writing, giving an entertaining read and insight into the world of professional cycling. But in a strange sort of way this is exactly what he needs to motivate himself forward, he loves proving his critics wrong and takes great delight in doing so, even shunning proven training techniques that have been honed over many years, he works in his own way.