Former world champ visit's charity projects - trip filmed by Sky Sports News for documentary later this month...

While the cycling world has experienced meltdown over the past week, former world champion Mark Cavendish has been in Africa to witness at first hand the work of charity Right To Play, which transforms the lives of children who have encountered problems unimaginable to most of us in the developed world.

During the two-day visit to the East African country accompanied by fellow Olympians Mark Hunter and Crista Cullen, Cavendish, who has been one of the charity’s ambassadors for several years as outlined in an article here on road.cc last year, visited Right To Play projects to learn more about it work as well as meet some of the children it has helped.

Cavendish, who himself became a father this year, visited several primary schools running Right To Play projects and, in the country's biggest city, Dar es Salaam, the Msimamo Youth Center, where he had a long chat with a 20-year-old named Halema whose story reflects the tyoe of hardship that the children the charity helps have endured.

After the youngster’s parents died of AIDS six years ago, she was taken in by an aunt who forced her into prostitution, but found a way out after becoming involved in Right To Play programmes.

Cavendish said: " I'm blown away about what I've seen over the last few days. To see these kids getting their lives on track, building confidence, learning about team work and self respect is amazing.

“We all take play, messing about with our mates, kicking a football and riding a bike and take it for granted – these kids have not had any opportunities to have fun and develop until they got involved with Right To Play – what they do is so simple but so effective. I'm really proud to be part of this organisation."

Cavendish was followed on the trip by a Sky Sports News team which will air a documentary about his work for Right To Play on 29th October.

That’s two days before the route of next year’s Tour de France is officially unveiled in Paris, and it may well be that we’ll know by then which team Cavendish, a regular attendee of the presentation, will be riding for in 2013.

You can find out more about Right To Play’ work here.


Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


WolfieSmith [1395 posts] 5 years ago

I do wish Road.CC could keep up with the news. Everyone knows the capital city of Tanzania has been Dodoma since 1996...

Of course Tanzania also includes the island of Zanzibar which was the birth place of Freddie Mercury who wrote the song Bicycle Race so it's strangely apt that Cav should be there.  26

I'll get my coat...

Simon_MacMichael [2507 posts] 5 years ago

I like the fact that they actually decided on the change in 1974 but it took them more than two decades to make it official.

1974 also being around about the time I would spend hours and hours poring over maps in my atlas... I still can't get used to Leningrad being renamed.

Gkam84 [9113 posts] 5 years ago

Wasn't it Mziziima or something like that before?

It was 1973 the plans were set for it to move. I didn't know it was only made official on 96, I thought thats just when the government moved  39

I really must go back to school and take geography again  19

Some Fella [890 posts] 5 years ago

Anyway - this is all very fascinating but isnt it nice to see someone like Cavendish doing a bit of good in the world?
I wonder if Beefy Bertie or the current Olympic champion is doing this type of charity work in the off season?

The Hoggs [3496 posts] 5 years ago

In a week (or thereabouts) we have seen the spiralling truth behind professional drug taking and riders busting a gut to spill the beans so they get off with a small ban instead of being implicated later, that we see a genuine nice bloke trying his best to highlight major problems in a country thousands of miles away and trying to help.

I take my hat off to him, well done mate.  41