Cavendish's tale of a Boy Racer

Manxman prepared for backlash

Mark Cavendish's story is one of a lad from the Isle of Man growing up on the road, the velodrome and most importantly, in the spotlight. His first book, Boy Racer, documents that journey and on the eve of its release Cavendish spoke to Cyclingnews at the Giro d'Italia finale in Rome.

"I'm really happy with the book," Cavendish said. "It's going to cause some controversy, but I think I've cleared everything with nearly everyone bar one or two individual; if you read the book you'll see that it leaves everyone in a positive way."

Published by Ebury Press, Boy Racer examines Cavendish's rise to prominence as a multiple Grand Tour stage winner.

The controversy Cavendish alludes to surrounds his relationship with British Cycling, and namely former coach Simon Jones, teammate André Greipel, the Beijing Olympics and the Garmin-Slipstream cycling team.

Cavendish speaks in glowing terms in the book about his Columbia teammates, who he says, "aren't just any old teammates, they're special athletes, special individual with whom I have a special bond and without whom I'd never win a race."

Bernhard Eisel, in particular, receives praise for his unselfish and devoted support during last year's Tour de France mountain stage to Hautacam. He carried Cavendish's water bottles and helped to pace him towards survival after the Manxman crashed and was dropped by the field.

"It's so easy to be cliché and just say that the team is strong, but when it is such a big reason for my success then it has to be said."

On the rivalry with Garmin, Cavendish said that the relationship was good for the sport and friendly. "We just have a little bit of fun and I talk with half the riders on the phone most weeks anyway. Cycling rivalries are good for everyone and if we can play on that it's a good thing."

Cavendish certainly isn't afraid of elaborating upon some of the controversial incidents that have marked his career to date – quite the opposite. He believes it helps define him, although all in moderation, of course. "There will be controversy but it's a big part of what makes me who I am and I was always determined to battle on against those odds," he said

"I was a bit worried about the book and some of its content, but I'm well known for not cushioning things up. I knew that if I stayed to just the facts and my opinion and didn't beat about the bush then it was going to come together."

Cavendish will be looking for more Tour de France success this year and hasn't finished his writing career yet, with the sprinter set to follow up Boy Racer with two more books.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews as we bring you extracts from Boy Racer in the coming days.

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