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Gallery and Video: Cavendish's top five moments of 2011

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Cavendish receives his MBE from Queen Elizabeth II

Cavendish receives his MBE from Queen Elizabeth II
(Image credit: Press Association)
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Cavndish crosses the on the final stage of the Tour to make history

Cavndish crosses the on the final stage of the Tour to make history
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cavendish (in green) on the 2011 Tour de France final podium

Cavendish (in green) on the 2011 Tour de France final podium
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish takes the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen

Mark Cavendish takes the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish debuts his rainbow jersey at the start of the Giro del Piemonte

Mark Cavendish debuts his rainbow jersey at the start of the Giro del Piemonte
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish in the rainbow jersey

Mark Cavendish in the rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish clinches the 2011 World Championship

Mark Cavendish clinches the 2011 World Championship
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish had a rough start to 2011.

Mark Cavendish had a rough start to 2011.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was a huge hit with the crowd

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was a huge hit with the crowd
(Image credit: Chris Keller-Jackson)
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2011 Tour green jersey winner Mark Cavendish hopes to add to his career total of 20 Tour stage wins in 2012.

2011 Tour green jersey winner Mark Cavendish hopes to add to his career total of 20 Tour stage wins in 2012.
(Image credit: AFP)
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Mark Cavendish at the start with his new rainbow jersey

Mark Cavendish at the start with his new rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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In most people's eyes, Mark Cavendish is the current number one sprinter

In most people's eyes, Mark Cavendish is the current number one sprinter
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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HTC-Highroad finished 1-2 at the finish of stage 5 with Mark Renshaw, right, taking the win followed by Mark Cavendish in second.

HTC-Highroad finished 1-2 at the finish of stage 5 with Mark Renshaw, right, taking the win followed by Mark Cavendish in second.
(Image credit: Rob Lampard)
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The podium: Matt Goss (Australia), Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), Andre Griepel (Germany)

The podium: Matt Goss (Australia), Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), Andre Griepel (Germany)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A relaxed Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) rolls to the start.

A relaxed Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) rolls to the start.
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Three for three. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) in Paris.

Three for three. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) in Paris.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Another green jersey for Mark Cavendish (HTC)

Another green jersey for Mark Cavendish (HTC)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Stage 11 winner Mark Cavendish is all smiles in Lavaur.

Stage 11 winner Mark Cavendish is all smiles in Lavaur.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Brits together at the start; Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad plus Geraint Thomas, Alex Dowsett and Ben Swift of Sky.

Brits together at the start; Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad plus Geraint Thomas, Alex Dowsett and Ben Swift of Sky.
(Image credit: Rob Lampard)
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Maglia Rosa Mark Cavendish suffered a mechanical and had to switch bikes

Maglia Rosa Mark Cavendish suffered a mechanical and had to switch bikes
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Congratulations for Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) from a teammate

Congratulations for Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) from a teammate
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Good thing it was win number three for Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) - one less and he might be in trouble again.

Good thing it was win number three for Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) - one less and he might be in trouble again.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Danilo Hondo (Lampre) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) chat at the start

Danilo Hondo (Lampre) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) chat at the start
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Robbie McEwen (Radioshack) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) didn't feature in today's sprint.

Robbie McEwen (Radioshack) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) didn't feature in today's sprint.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) takes the win

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) takes the win
(Image credit: Luke Webber)
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Mark Cavendish in his new rainbow kit

Mark Cavendish in his new rainbow kit
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish was happy to pull on the rainbow jersey

Mark Cavendish was happy to pull on the rainbow jersey
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish hoists up his third Scheldeprijs trophy

Mark Cavendish hoists up his third Scheldeprijs trophy
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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The Scheldeprijs podium: Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ)

The Scheldeprijs podium: Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha), Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ)
(Image credit: Sirotti)

Mark Cavendish has won the BBC Sports Personality of the year award for 2011, becoming just  the third cyclist to win the award after Tom Simpson in the 1960s and Sir Chris Hoy in 2008. Cyclingnews takes a look back at the Manxman's incredible year, with the top five moments of his season.

24 July: Taking the green jersey at the Tour de France

After a relatively slow start to the season by his standards, Cavendish powered to victory in five stages of the 2011 Tour de France, becoming the first British rider to claim the coveted green jersey as the winner of the overall points classification. He did so despite incurring penalties and being docked points after stage 18 and stage 19, and finished in his now customary blaze of glory in the centre of Paris - writing himself into the history books as the first rider to win the Tour's iconic final stage for three consecutive years.

14 August: Winning the 2012 Olympics test event

Just three weeks after his exploits at the Tour, Cavendish delighted his home fans by winning the much-publicised 2012 Olympic road race test event on the roads of Surrey and London. In typical style he emerged from a large pack will a well-timed burst to complete the 87-mile course in just over three-and-a-quarter hours, the perfect dress rehearsal for his assault on gold next year. "The crowd were incredible the whole way," he told BBC Sport afterwards. "You can't get a sense of how the 2012 race will go, but you can get a feel for this course and the route is good."

25 September: Road World Champion in Copenhagen

In arguably his most thrilling performance of the year, Cavendish became the first British rider for 46 years to win the Road World Championships. He rounded off an astonishing display of co-ordinated teamwork and selfless pace-setting by his seven Team GB colleagues to deliver a devastating finish and pip Australia's Matthew Goss almost on the finish line and bag the famous rainbow jersey. The dramatic race was witnessed on television by millions back home, and by now Cavendish's profile in Great Britain was approaching the stratosphere.

11 October: Signing for Team Sky

After months of speculation, it was finally confirmed that Cavendish would be 'coming home' to join British outfit Team Sky next season, after his previous team, HTC Highroad, folded. Cavendish signed a big money deal to join fellow British stars Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas under the guidance of Team GB and Team Sky boss David Brailsford. It was a move that captured the imagination of British cycling fans everywhere. "Mark is the greatest sprinter of his generation and is well on his way to becoming the greatest of all time," Brailsford said. "He is a rider of exceptional talent who has proved his pedigree at the very highest level of our sport."

1 December: Picking up his MBE from The Queen

Of all the memorable moments from 2011, it is probably a decent bet that collecting his MBE for services to British cycling from The Queen in December would be the one that Cavendish will remember most. Watched by his pregnant girlfriend and proud members of his family, Cavendish picked up the honour, which had been bestowed on him in The Queen's Birthday Honours List back in June, at Buckingham Palace. It was a fitting footnote to a history-making year.