He's already taken world, European and Commonwealth Games championship medals on the track and now, in his first pro year, T-Mobile's young sprinter Mark Cavendish has developed into one of the fastest road sprinters on the circuit. What's more, on Tuesday he became one of the first riders to sign the UCI's new anti-doping charter, pledging to win clean. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes recently spoke to the Manxman about his five victories this season, the atmosphere on the German team and about his chances of starting the Tour de France on home soil.
This year has seen a dream professional debut for Mark Cavendish. The T-Mobile rider may be just 22 years of age, the season may be just five months old, but he has already landed five victories and snagged the green jersey of points winner in the Four Days of Dunkirk. That means he has netted the highest total of individual wins for the [men's] team thus far in 2007.
After finishing second on the opening stage of the Etoile de Bessèges, the Manxman lost some time due to illness. He bounced back with a sprint victory in the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen on April 18, beating riders of the calibre of Robbie McEwen (Predictor Lotto), Gert Steegmans (Quick Step), and Erik Zabel (Milram).
Cavendish was 11th in the following day's Grand Prix de Denain and then lined out in the Four Days of Dunkirk on May 8. He finished third on Stage 2, winning the bunch sprint, and then galloped in first on Stages 3 and 6, netting the points jersey in the process. More was to follow: he snagged his first ProTour victory on stage two of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya on May 21, then followed that up with another win on stage six.
It's been a great start, to say the least. "I knew I was capable of that but given that my season started off quite badly due to me being sick, it has worked out well," he said. "Once I got that initial victory in the Scheldeprijs I showed I could do it, and was just a case of getting more wins after that.
To read the full interview with Mark Cavendish, click here.