When Mark Cavendish popped onto the world-class podium in 2007 he was deemed the next Robbie McEwen. Tough shoes to fill,but in only his second year as a professional, the High Road sprinter from the Isle of Man in Great Britain has already celebrated some of the most astounding victories in his young career. Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins spoke with the newly crowned world Madison champion after his pre-season training camp in San Luis Obispo, California to find out if his career schedule, prepared at age thirteen, is on target.
"I aspired to be like McEwen when I was younger," said the twenty-one-year old current Madison world track champion. "But when someone asks me that now, I tend to think to myself; I'm not the next McEwen, I'm the first Mark Cavendish – but if I get to do what he's done in my own career, I'd be really happy with that."
Without cycling history in the Cavendish family, the Brit went to his local cycling league by himself to see what he could accomplish. "Ever since I was a kid I just liked to be on my bike," said Cavendish. "When I was twelve I only had a BMX and everyone else had a mountain bike and I was doing laps around them on this little circuit. So I asked for a mountain bike for me birthday. I went down the day after and I won again so cycling [racing] carried on from there."
His athletic ability stemmed from growing up in a household where being active through organised sports was a priority. "My parents were supportive about getting me involved in sport, no matter which one; football or cycling or any sport I chose. I think I'm lucky to have had that support from them."
It was not hard for the British cycling federation to spot the talent, who won every national title offered in the junior level. "When I was in my second season ... I won a lot of races," said Cavendish. "I know I was very young but that's when I figured I could make a job of it on the road and track. I won the road, time trial, pursuit and everything else. I made a plan then for what I was going to do with my life."
Read the full interview with Mark Cavendish.