In his own typically outspoken style, Boy Racer chronicles Mark Cavendish’s own observations of his rise to the top of the cycling tree. In these extracts from the book, exclusive to Cyclingnews, Cavendish talks being a square peg in a round hole, drug testing, the Olympic Madison and why big-money offers won’t make him change teams.
On having a talent laboratory computers and sports scientists can’t fathom
"My problem is maybe that I just don’t look like a cyclist. Pro bike riders come in a range of well-chiselled sizes but my short, stubby legs and long body are at least unusual and maybe unique in the pro peloton. More to the point, I don’t look like a bike rider in front of what some coaches regard as the one mirror that never lies - the one which is kept in the gym or the physiology lab, with two pedals, a saddle, wheels that move without travelling and a digital display programmed - it seems to me - to communicate to the world exactly how mother nature was on an off day when she made me.
All cyclists hate stationary bikes or ‘rigs’, mainly because they’re synonymous with leg-butchering, lung-perforating fitness tests, but no one hates them more than I do. At the [British Cycling Federation’s] Academy I’d almost literally kick and scream even before I was put through one of these ordeals, to the point where eventually the coaches decided it was too much melodrama to bear and agreed to let me opt out. All the feedback I’ve got from these tests could be condensed into a single message - the same one you often hear directed at opposing fans at football matches: 'You're shit and you know you are...'"
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