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Council chief accuses Mark Cavendish of taking liberties over Freedom of Douglas award

Manx Missile yet to set date to be given honour more than two years after it was granted

Only the hardiest of souls would brave swimming in the chilly seas that surround the Isle of Man right now, but the island’s favourite sporting son, Mark Cavendish, seems to have landed himself in plenty of hot water back home after failing to arrange a date to be presented with an award more than two years after it was bestowed on him.

The HTC-Columbia sprinter, preparing to join battle in the Tour Down Under with erstwhile teammate Andre Greipel and Garmin-Cervélo’s Tyler Farrar, among others, was given the Freedom of the Borough of Douglas, the island’s capital, in August 2008, the month after he won his first four Tour de France stages.

However, Douglas Council has found it impossible to schedule a date with the cyclist for him to receive the honour.

Last month, the council’s leader, David Christian, quoted on BBC News, said that although Cavendish had been contacted regarding the wording to be shown on the illuminated manuscript which confirmed the honour, no reply had been received.

He added that he and his colleagues were “disappointed to be treated in such a way,” adding that the cyclist was “joining the likes of Winston Churchill, the Bee Gees and Norman Wisdom, all of which have gladly accepted their award."

A month on, Mr Christian has confirmed that Cavendish has still not being in touch, reports the website IOM Today.

“We have still had no feedback from Mark Cavendish but we have had a call from someone who was apparently speaking on his behalf,” confirmed the council leader. “He was quite upset and disgruntled by some of the comments made. But it is just pure simple fact that he has not been in touch.

“We are hoping he does recognise the honour . I’m sure he does. We just wish he would come in."

Mr Christian added that the council had attempted to contact Cavendish by phone and email through his agents but said it did not know whether messages were being passed on to him.

The website reported that according to friends of the cyclist, his schedule has simply been too busy for him to be able to set a date with the council.

However, Mr Christian claims: “He has been on the island a few times and it is felt he could have found just half an hour to come in.

“I still voted for him in the Sports Personality of the Year competition but one or two members of the council are a bit hot under the collar about it.

“The door is well and truly open. He only has to pick up the phone and give me a call,” he added.

Cavendish apparently did pay a visit to the council to give his input to the early design of the honour, currently on display at Douglas town hall, which Mr Christian said made it “puzzling” that he had not set a date to collect it.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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