The most successful sprinter in Tour de France history, Mark Cavendish, takes control of Procycling as guest editor for its latest issue, and chooses the stories and subjects that matter most to him. All nine features in the magazine have been specifically selected by Cavendish, while there’s also an exclusive interview with the man himself.
Cavendish’s career achievements speak for themselves: 30 Tour de France stage wins; a World Championships road race jersey; rainbow jerseys won on the track; a monument at Milan-San Remo; the points jerseys at all three Grand Tours; plus, more than 100 additional race victories.
Yet the last two seasons have seen him dogged by illness. He was diagnosed with the debilitating Epstein Barr virus in early 2017, but the condition stuck around through 2018 essentially ruining two years for him. There’s also the series of crashes that first knocked him out of the Tour de France in 2017 along with Peter Sagan, then ended his Abu Dhabi Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico last year, and then sent him flying over a bollard out of last spring’s San Remo.
“You don’t go from winning 16 races a year to one. If I’d gone from 16 to 10, you could say ‘he’s getting slower’. But one win, that means something is wrong,” Cavendish tells Edward Pickering, Procycling’s usual editor, when the pair meet in South Africa for an exclusive interview.
Yet Cavendish he feels he’s still got more to give, and as he prepares to start 2019 he has one last target left in his career: collecting the four Tour stage wins he needs to equal Eddy Merckx's all-time record of 34.
While in South Africa, Procycling went for a ride with Cavendish and bumped into former Tour winner Cadel Evans along the way. The pair stopped for a coffee and a chat about their favourite places to ride and what being on the bike makes them feel.
Cavendish takes control of the interviewer’s hot-seat to speak to somebody who helped mould him into the rider he has become – Team Sky’s Rod Ellingworth. Back in 2004, Cavendish was a young rider on British Cycling’s newly established Academy, who went to live and race in Italy under the tutelage of Ellingworth, with the two continuing to work together over the years, though not presently. Cavendish finds out what makes one of the sport’s most unrecognised but important people tick.
In the 10 years since Cavendish won his first Tour stage, the tactics in sprints have changed drastically. Procycling speaks to the top riders in the discipline, including Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Elia Viviani, André Greipel and Sam Bennett, to find out from lead-outs to positioning, what goes into winning a bunch sprint finish today.
Cavendish describes Milan-San Remo as “like an opera”, and the monument, which he won on his debut back in 2009 is one of his greatest days ever on the bike. Daniel Friebe explores why there is so much magic in the 295-kilometre Italian Classic.
Marianne Vos is the first name that came up when Cavendish spoke about the riders he wanted in this edition of the magazine. The Dutchwoman has won almost everything there is to win in the sport, and dominated for years when, as Cavendish says, she had little to gain from it financially or otherwise. “I think she’s wicked,” he says. Sophie Hurcom speaks to the three-time road world champion about her drive and motivation.
Concussion is one of the issues in cycling that is increasingly being discussed and a topic Cavendish felt should not be avoided any longer. The Manxman himself found out just what impact concussion can have when he crashed at the Abu Dhabi Tour last February. Richard Abraham speaks to the doctors in the sport who are trying to create new protocols to protect riders.
Back in 2016, Cavendish combined track racing with his exploits on the road. Few riders regularly mix both disciplines any more, with Elia Viviani one of the few contemporaries who can most winters be found competing on the track. Richard Moore finds out why racing and training in the velodrome is beneficial to road riders.
One of the most celebrated track meets of the year is the Gent Six Day, a race Cavendish has fond memories of having raced multiple times and won in 2016 with Bradley Wiggins. The boards and trackside cabins of the Belgian city’s historic t’Kuipke velodrome have been home to some of the sport’s biggest stars over the decades. Sam Dansie went to Gent to find out why the race is so loved by riders and fans.
Finally, this month’s Retro feature is a throwback to the first bike race Cavendish ever watched; Chris Boardman’s gold medal winning ride in the pursuit at the Olympics in 1992. Then just seven years old, the young Cavendish watched as Boardman became the first Briton to win any medal at the Games. Edward Pickering looks back on how Boardman, and his famous Lotus superbike, conquered the world.
Plus, inside the magazine you’ll find all the regular features, the latest products in cycling and an update from regular diarists Dan Martin and Jens Voigt.
Procycling magazine: the best writing and photography from inside the world’s toughest sport. Pick up your copy in all good newsagents and supermarkets now, or pick up a Procycling subscription.