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World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky)
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Great Britain's reigning world road race champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) used Thursday night's Isle of Man Sportsperson of the Year Awards to announce that he will be funding a new scholarship scheme to help the development of some of the island's brightest sporting prospects. Cavendish hails from the island off England's north west coast and he revealed that his own struggles were a motivating factor in his decision to start up the scheme, which will provide annual assistance for three youngsters.
"This island is great at producing sportspeople across all sports and the youngsters deserve the opportunity to get away and show it off," he said, after collecting his award for Sportsman of the Year for the eighth consecutive year.
"I love this island and I really love coming back here, but I know first-hand how difficult it can be to get off it every weekend - both financially and practically. I thought 'now I'm in a position to help people who are in the same position that I was in.'"
"Part of Mark's donation will be used each year to ensure we can send riders to British Cycling's regional school of racing and they will go as members of Cavendish Racing Isle of Man," said Geoff Karran, the island's chairman for sport. "This is a fantastic bequest and gives a fantastic opportunity to young cyclists."