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Mark Cavendish confirms he will retire at end of season

"I feel it’s the perfect opportunity to say it’s my final Giro d’Italia and 2023 will be my final season as a professional cyclist"...

Britain's legendary sprinter and former world champion Mark Cavendish has confirmed that he will retire from professional cycling at the end of this season. 

Speaking at his team Astana Qazaqstan's afternoon press conference on Giro d'Italia's rest day, Cavendish announced that his decision comes at the "perfect time", as yesterday's reports about his retirement were confirmed.

"I’ve absolutely loved racing every kilometre [of the Giro] so far, so I feel that it's the perfect opportunity to say with absolute joy in my heart that this will be my final Giro d'Italia, and 2023 will be my final season as a professional cyclist," he said.

"Right now there is no need to talk about my short and long-term plans, I'll always be a cyclist, that's for sure, but for this final period I'd like to just enjoy doing what has made me happy for the last 25 years. And that's simply to race."

> Mark Cavendish set to announce retirement at end of the season, reports suggest

Cavendish, who celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday and has spent 20 glorious years collecting accolades, adorations, honours, and nicknames like the 'Manx Missile', started out on the track before hitting the road and finding his strengths as a sprinter and a serial stage winner at tours.

Cavendish has 34 Tour de France stage victories to his name, famously putting him on the top spot together with Eddy Merckx. And his 53 Grand Tour stage wins puts him third on the all-time list, alongside his staggering 161 victories, while riding for teams such as Columbia-HTC, Sky, Quick-Step, Dimension Data, and Bahrain-McLaren, since turning pro for T-Mobile in 2006.

He's won the points classification at all three Grand Tours — Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, and also proved that he can be as strong at a one-day classic, winning the 2009 edition of Milan-San Remo, and seven more classic races in his career.

At this year's edition of the Corsa Rosa, Cavendish has so far picked up three top tens in sprints and posted his best result last week, finishing third on stage 11, just behind winner Pascal Ackermann in a tight finish.

> Sliding across the finish line?! Cavendish holds on to handlebars to finish fifth while sliding on the ground

Mark Cavendish at Giro d'Italia stage 4 (by Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

Mark Cavendish at Giro d'Italia stage 4 (by Zac Williams/SWpix.com)

Cavendish is also set to lead his team Astana Qazaqstan team in July as he chases that elusive, record-breaking 35th stage win at the Tour de France.

British Cycling congratulated the cyclist for "a truly outstanding career". Performance Director Stephen Park CBE said: "Cav is without doubt the sport’s greatest sprinter and will be remembered by fans across the world for his 53 grand tour stage wins, and I’m sure that we will all be cheering him on as he looks to add to that total in his final months of racing.

"From a Great Britain Cycling Team perspective, we have seen him win rainbow jerseys on both the road and the track, a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games, and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year title in 2011.

"What most stands out in Cav as a sportsperson is the overwhelming sense of pride he showed each time he pulled on both the Great Britain Cycling Team and British national champion’s jerseys – a quality we want to instil in every single member of our team."

After much uncertainty over the Isle of Man cyclist's new team during last year's winter, the British champion ended up at the Kazakh team, where he will be afforded what now appears to be one last opportunity to make yet more history at a race in which he redefined the art of sprinting.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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4 comments

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Shades | 10 months ago
0 likes

1 more TdF stage win and the peloton give him the honour of leading them onto the Champs Elysees.

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wtjs | 10 months ago
0 likes

Agreed. He doesn't have to prove anything, but I hope he gets one more chance to go out with a recent victory. A great champion.

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peted76 | 10 months ago
3 likes

We all knew it was coming and  we're all cheering him on for one or more wins at the TdF!

I'll never forget his resurgance in this sport, after it seemed everyone was writing him off as a has been..  I feel/have felt emotionally invested in Cav over the past couple of years.. even moreso than a few years back when he was king of the world. 

 

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maxdabrit | 10 months ago
2 likes

Thank you Mark, for taking us along on your amazing journey. It's been wonderful to cheer Cmon Mark and CAVENDISSSSHHH! at my TV for so many years. 

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