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Mark Cavendish, Britain's best athlete?

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Matt Slater | 09:50 UK time, Monday, 25 July 2011

Mark Cavendish is David Beckham big in Belgium. In fact, he isn't David Beckham, he is Mark Cavendish. And not just in Belgium, but also France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain... pretty much everywhere they love cycling. The Isle of Man, too. Definitely there.

In the rest of Britain? Not so much. But I think we will get there.

After all, we say rower Sir Steve Redgrave is our greatest Olympian, we went nuts for curling a few years ago and track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, another minority sport knight of the realm, sold breakfast cereal thanks to his pedalling antics.

So we love winners - and Cav is definitely that.

His victory in Sunday's final stage of the Tour de France was his third straight win on the Champs Elysees. Nobody else has even won it back-to-back.

It was also his fifth stage win in this year's race and his 20th Tour success overall, good enough for sixth on the all-time list, only two behind Lance Armstrong's tally and 14 off the legendary Eddy Merckx's record. Cavendish is still only 26.

This year, there was something different about Cavendish's glorious gallop up one of the most famous streets in the world - he did it in green. That's the colour worn by the leader in the Tour's points competition, which is the race's most consistent high-finisher. Typically, the wearer of the green jersey is the best sprinter in the field.

Cavendish's previous victories in Paris were spectacular but they were also slightly Pyrrhic. Another man was in green and the Cav-alry charge came too late to take it off them. There was an element of controversy on both occasions, a hint of misfortune and perhaps even questions about the Manxman's strategy for success.

But, of course, there is no changing the past, let alone Cavendish.

With a slightly different scoring system, this year was different, although the man himself, so he told us, was exactly the same.

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In truth, this was only half right. Cavendish is still utterly focused on crossing the line first. That is what gets people out of their chairs at home. It is what people remember. He has lost nothing of his bravery and keen sense of timing either.

But he is also slightly lighter than he has been. A compromise with his body has been reached. A few pounds of fast-twitch muscle have been sacrificed in order to help him get over the mountain passes slightly easier.

This has kept him in the bunch for longer on non-sprint days, enabling him to pick up points for the intermediate sprints he used to ignore.

After making his now customary slow start to the season (remember, this guy is a superstar, so it is all relative), he was moving comfortably through the gears by the time he took two stage wins in three days at the Giro d'Italia.

You don't keep doing this, however, without attracting the attention of every other would-be winner in the peloton. Cavendish is the most marked man in professional cycling.

So when he got boxed in and missed his chance in the Tour's first bunch sprint, those questions were asked again. We did not have to wait long for the answer.

As well as winning the 21st and final stage, he also snaffled the sprints in the fifth, seventh, 11th and 15th stages. This degree of domination is unprecedented in recent cycling history.

I managed to catch a few words with British cyclist David Millar after the teams had completed their laps of honour. He was clutching a plastic glass of champagne and generally looking like a man who didn't have to ride his bike again tomorrow.

So just how good is Cav? I asked.

"He is Britain's best athlete right now and probably the best sprinter in the history of cycling," the 34-year-old veteran said.

"I know it's always a big claim when you start calling people the best ever but he is that good and it is a shame that people at home don't quite realise that yet."

I have already written about why this might be but I was heartened by the number of British fans I saw amongst the estimated 250,000-strong crowd in Paris, all vying for a vantage point along the barriers. Cavendish is catching on.

Moments after I left Millar to make his plans for a mighty rehydration session this evening, Cavendish swung around the corner, a three-legged Isle of Man flag and Union Jack wound around his neck.

Immediately, there was a rush of autograph-hunters, phone-snappers and well-wishers towards the man in green but he stopped for a quick chat and patiently signed everything that was thrust under his nose.

As per usual with this apparently most individual of talents, he was quick to praise the "incredible guys" in his team and thank them for "finally" helping him to the prize he wanted most.

He admitted the new scoring system, with its emphasis on stage wins, had helped but denied there was any hint of panic on his part when he was forced to change his bike with 30km to go on the final stage.

He rode effortlessly back to the field, efficiently through it and, well, we saw the rest.

But unlike Millar, whose other half is expecting a baby very soon, Cavendish's season is not over. For him, there will only be moderate celebrations given that there are World Championships to prepare for.

Victory in Copenhagen in September, on a course seemly designed with Cavendish in mind, would further enhance his standing and bring even more recognition.

He may not get a personal call from the prime minister to discuss the suitability of calling a national holiday, as Australian yellow-jersey winner Cadel Evans got from Julia Gillard, but Cavendish might start to get some of that Belgian love back home. He has earned it.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about at http://twitter.com/bbc_matt

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Cavendish is without doubt a remarkable athlete and currently one of the finest in the UK. The great British public know very little of professional cycling or indeed the Tour de France. Unlike continental Europe cycling remains a minority sport and Cavendish's heroics will go largely unnoticed. The British love heroic losers and this ensures that Cavendish (as a winner) will always be marginalised by the likes of Tim Henman, Frank Bruno & the England football team.

  • Comment number 2.

    Cavendish should be a shoe-in for SPOTY, but he won't be as cycling is sadly not a widely-followed sport inthe UK, despite the exploits of Cav, Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton et al. The reason for this is probably lack of TV coverage. It might be a different story if the BBC had the televiosion rights to cover the Tour De France.

  • Comment number 3.

    'Mark Cavendish, the UK's best athlete?'

    isn't he a Manxman though which, what with the IoM not being part of the UK, technically makes him a great non-UK athlete!

    great effort at tdf, good luck to him in the worlds and 2012.

  • Comment number 4.

    They say nothing in history is inevitable, but seeing Cav on the podium in that green jersey while seeing his rise in the tour over the last five years certainly makes you wonder. The recognition should come but i wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't to be honest as it seems to be the nature of the beast in the UK when it comes to road cycling. Cycling has always been much bigger in Europe than in England (i spent my childhood summers touring Europe with my parents, often with two bikes each...) but the winds seem to be shifting at last, with even small examples like the Boris-bikes (sorry, i'm not sure if that's the right nickname) in Hyde Park to the media exposure of Team GB in the last couple if years.

    I hope this leads to two major things: firstly, that Cav wins the BBC SPOTY as there really isn't any other individual who jumps to mind that deserves it more. Secondly, that the UK finally catches up with other European nations in embracing cycling as something everyone treats as a day to day activity. The big test will be if we start to finally close roads for bike races.

    Finally, congrats to Cav and Mark Renshaw, as well as all of the HTC-Highroad team: they all deserve to be there in December to enjoy the spoils they've earned for their great sprinter.

  • Comment number 5.

    I was quite surprised to see how calm Cav was in all the post-race interviews yesterday, considering how emotional we all know him to be the most emotion we saw was a beaming smile and laughing in the official Tour interview with Ned Boulting before the podium ceremony. This is probably down to the huge sense of relief felt after finally achieving his goal after three years spent trying and just falling short.

    He is rightly the star of road-cycling on the continent and should be here. I disagree that the BBC should automatically bid for the Tour rights to get it more coverage, they can't cover everything and like it or not road cycling is still somewhat of a minority sport. ITV4 cover the race brilliantly and maybe the big decision could be made to broadcast it on ITV1 instead of 4, that would guarantee a whole new audience for the sport and with so much British success outside of Cav as well it's a perfect time for it.

    http://thebigblogofsport.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 6.

    Thank god for ITV hey, this has been one of the most exciting sporting events in living memory. The twists and turns, incredible finishes, Voeckler, Evans, Schleck, Cavendish have made it the best i have ever seen (which isn't many to be fair).

    Maybe if the BBC got rid of ridiculous sports such as F1 in which no-one can do it at grass roots unlike cycling for example then maybe the likes of Cav and Wiggins will become much more lauded in their home country. What a tour, what a performance by Cavendish and right now he has to be our greatest athlete.

    The question i'd like to know is his plans for 2012 being as he has admitted is secondary to the Tour. If he switched would he blow Hoy and Kenny out of the water in the sprint?

    Would the rest of Team GB aid him to win the road race? Interesting questions now that its only a year away.

  • Comment number 7.

    In the land of his birth, Cav will always be King ..... lets see the Manx Missile become Sports Personality of the Year

  • Comment number 8.

    Well, Cavendish is astoudning, but cycling has an uphil struggle here in the UK:

    There's no ball in it

    Races last more than 90 minutes

    There's no ball in it

    The tactics are complicated and finally,

    It doesn't have balls in it.

    Well done Mark, maybe next year it'll be Cavendish in green and Wiggins in yellow. There still won't be any balls in it though.

  • Comment number 9.

    What isn't set is two things. The other sprinters are still world class just that Cav is a class apart. No other sprinter of any other generation has dominated the sport such as Cav has. His domination is parralleled in Cycling with the domination of Armstrong before him and Indurain before him.

    This issue still is we don't get it - one on one between Cav and Chris Hoy and there's no doubt who'll win (and it's not Hoy btw!) just that we measure standards by being a world champion or particularly olympic champion so Hoy's a legend and Cav is a bit like Cav who?

    Personally I agree with Dave Miller on both counts. Cav is a super legend!

  • Comment number 10.

    Cav is an amazing Athlete and if he achieves most stage wins he could contest for top Uk athlete. Awesome result for this year's tour. He's a character too. Howver today there is one clear contender and my view winner of top UK athelete -Chrissie Wellington. She is the only woman I know who consistently beats many, usually amjority of male pros in her event, last time out all but 4, and consistently outclasses all female contenders in the Ironman - which in itself for a single day event must be the toughest sport. Agree for one event nothing matches the tour. Welcome comments on another female beating most male pros in her event?? Shame Chrissie gets so little press...

  • Comment number 11.

    Agree with Lempster. Cavendish should be recognised by the BBC come December but no doubt the masses will vote for some footballer.

  • Comment number 12.

    I should also mention that I don't deem Cav's past three Tours to have been failures, as he says each year he targets stage wins and if the green jersey comes as a result then fantastic. He did let slip yesterday though that he had been trying for it in the past couple of years so no matter how many stages he won there may have always been a nagging sense that he'd missed out - maybe caused by the media and public expectations more than his own.

    And @jim1212, Cav competes in the Olympics and World Championships for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I'm not an expert on these things but surely that makes him a UK athlete?

  • Comment number 13.

    Not every sport in the world can be covered on national television. Different countries are into different sports and that's always been the case. Football, Rugby, Tennis, Cricket, Boxing, F1, Golf, Snooker are all sports that are more popular here.

    The achievements are amazing, and I love to read about them, but I'm not going to complain that there isn't any on TV, and to be honest I don't want it on TV, especially not over the sports mentioned above.

    There would be more people unhappy if these sports were taken off our TV in favour of cycling.

  • Comment number 14.

    711 Honved. Nonsense my friend. Just remember the crowds that turned out to welcome the Rugby WC winners in 2003, Ashes vistory in 2005 and Beijing medallists in 2008. Matt is right, we love winners it is just that the media doesn't always highlight our successes so many people remain ignorant of them.
    And given the (sometimes well deserved) vitriol directed at the England football team I would suggest they were not particularly well loved by many. SPOTY is usually won by a winner, the years when that has not been the case are the exception not the rule.
    As for whether Cav is our greatest athlete, great he certainly is but as I've said before in these threads Chrissie Wellington wins that title for not just the UK but the world.

  • Comment number 15.

    Thank you Jim 1212.
    As a Jerseyman it's nice to see a reminder that anyone from the Channel Islands/IoM is from the British Isles, and not the U.K (and we have the advantage of not being in the E.U).
    P.S To bigsportingblog. It's because of the Channel Islands/IoM that our Olympic/world athletes compete as Team GB, and not Team U.K.

  • Comment number 16.

    Altho' officially IoM is not part of the UK, its head of state is the Queen, and the ultimate responsibility for its governance lies with the Crown, which for practical purposes is the UK Government! So it seems to be ruled by the UK, but not of the UK at one and the same time. Or "Today I be mostly cycling"..:)

  • Comment number 17.

    fantastic sprinter in a fantastic team.

    with reference to comments about interest in cycling in Britain, quite a few people have talked to me about the tour de france this year, and no one has mentioned the cricket. the interest in sport in this country is almost totally dependent on the television coverage, i.e. free television. well done to ITV for putting the race live. The lack of coverage will be the end of cricket in the nation's consciousness.

  • Comment number 18.

    @13 No i think you've got it wrong. The reason more people aren't 'in' to cycling is because it isn't on TV, if it was a regular fix on the BBC or ITV 1 then i think support for it would take off. Especially in Britain where we follow our own in incredible numbers and we have some of the best cyclists in the world right now.

    Also you've put cricket and boxing on that list which again is terrible that it isn't on normal TV anymore.

  • Comment number 19.

    Another contender for the current UKs top athelete; Nick Matthew- current world squash number 1. Unfortunately, much like cycling, squash doesnt get the coverage and hence recognition that its athletes deserve. In fact, squash gets even less coverage than cycling. At least cycling gets itv4 and BBC olympic coverage. Squash is available on the red button at the commonwealths, thats about it. And with the IOC including golf and rugby sevens in future olympics but not squash this disparity is likely to continue.

    Well done Cav.

  • Comment number 20.

    To be fair to the media and the public, the precise tactics of cycle sprinting, either on the track or in a stage race, must be amongst the most difficult to grasp of any sport. Even yesterday, ITV's stalwart commentators took a while to twig that HTC wasn't going to chase down the breakaway but leave it to nullify the intermediate sprint.....

  • Comment number 21.

    Cav is phenomanal, he is away ahead of the other sprinters and he has a fantastic lead out train, that have turned sprinting into a well oiled machine.

    He has deserved all his wins, is he a better bike rider than some of the guys above him on the lsit of TDF stage wins? No, but his accomplishments are unbelievable.

    I'd like to see him improve in the mountains though, he should be doing a bit better than just sitting in the autobus everyday, which means he can't get kicked out.

    I think he missed 2 cut off times this year, disappointing.

    It will be really interesting to see if he goes to Sky, i don't think Sky could work for him like HTC do, and that is a big help, but if he's in the hunt with 100 metres to go, very few people can beat him.

    Well done Cav, good luck in the world championships and well done Cadel.

    This years tour has been the best i can remember in the last 10 years anyway. Here's hoping next years is even better.

  • Comment number 22.

    @wirral18

    No, Cav would not blow Hoy or Kenny away in a track sprint. On the track, Cavendish is an endurance rider, suited for the points race and the Madison. Track sprinters are much bigger guys with much more power. But they wouldn't have prayer of getting through a 200km mountain stage in the Tour de France, or even completing a one-day classic road race. The two disciplines are entirely different.

  • Comment number 23.

    @Dr_Adam, fair enough - I stand corrected.

  • Comment number 24.

    Mark Cavendish is without question the best British athlete ~ by the full length of the Champs-Elysees at least! :)

    ...and this December he deserves to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 ~ make it happen http:/vote4cav.com

  • Comment number 25.

    Had Cav have won the Yellow Jersey he would have a good chance for SPOTY award but with Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy having great major wins I think he may be down the pecking order. Cav needs to win the thing first.

  • Comment number 26.

    Slightly overgenerous analysis :

    Firstly : he only wins ANY of the sprints as a result of a hugely resourced group of team-members that effectively do 95% of the work and give him a free ride until the last kilometre. Without them he is middle territory. Proof?
    Second: In the time trials when it is soley individual efforts without help, where is he positioned then?
    Third : under the rules applied for the tour de France, he would have been forcibly eliminated well before the finish due to being so far behind the leading pack (in hours)..but the rules were bent in order to keep the field size large enough.
    Fourth : Well thats enough to be going on with..

    Sure he is a world leading sportsman but only in a bizarre, artificial subsection of cycling created so that we have many winners rather than one. The tour is now a grueling team event with slave labour employed to over-elevate a commercially driven sponsorship "winner." Think of it as Steve Redmon not having to row in the coxless 4's until the the last 50 meters and then calling him a world champion for his stunning finish.

  • Comment number 27.

    Mark Cavendish is without question the best British athlete ~ by the full length of the Champs-Elysees at least! :)

    ...and this December he deserves to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 ~ make it happen http://vote4cav.com

  • Comment number 28.

    @sirlemons 11

    Why would you like to see Cav improve in the mountains? The reason he, and others, sit in the autobus is not that they couldn't go any faster. Most of them, including him, climb well. But there's no point in them wasting energy on finishing closer to the top climbers when their priority is to conserve energy to win the stages they can win. Coming twentieth on a mountain stage simply isn't their job.
    Cav can climb. In the 2009 tour he won a stage with a Category two climb near the finish. But climbing isn't a priority, and turning himself into a true climber would change his physique and damage his sprinting.

  • Comment number 29.

    Cavs has been top of his game for the last few years. The only reason he doesn't get the recognition he deserves is because cycling is still a minority sport in the UK despite the continuing success of British cyclists. He's also had a fair few run-ins with the media over the last few years and his confident attitude has often been wrongly perceived as arrogance. It's noticeable that he's been making an effort to try and change this perception over the last year and hopefully he'll begin to get the recognition he deserves.

    http://dodgykneesanddirtyballs.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 30.

    Tokyostory, I'm afraid you don't understand the sport. Criticising Cavendish because he "only" finishes off a team effort is similar to criticising Wayne Rooney because he doesn't play most of the match as goalkeeper.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ self : correction : Steve Redgrave not Redmon. of course

  • Comment number 32.

    Surely outranks Beckham by a long way. For one thing, he has actually won honours at world level and done so consisently at that. I'd say he even outranks Messrs Hoy and Wiggnis in cycling. His record over the last three or four years, not just in the Tour but the Giro, Vuelta and other top events, is nothing short of phenomenal.

  • Comment number 33.

    24. typo ~ should read:

    ...this December Cav deserves to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 ~ make it happen http://vote4cav.com

  • Comment number 34.

    @ sirlemons11 thats being a bit harsh. Yes he missed two time cuts but the co-efficents to determine them were changed for some reason this year, if they used last years he would of made both cuts, also he missed one by two minutes and the other by twenty seconds!.

    @ tokyostory88 last year Cav didnt have his lead out train for at least two of the stages he won, this year his first win was without the lead out train. He earned the train by winning 12 races in his debut season without a train (A record for debut season as well.) Have you seen his win in the 2009 Milan San Remo (one of the five cycling one day monumnets) no train there hunted down his rival in a long sprint to win by an inch.

  • Comment number 35.

    He is undoubtedly a great sprinter but he is only ranked 64th on the UCI World Tour Ranking.

    In comparison to world number 1 Luke Donald, world number 2 Lee Westwood and world number 4 & US Open Champion Rory McIlroy he has a long way to go before you can call him the UK's best athlete.

    McIlroy or Clarke to win Spots Personality of the Year!!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    25. At 12:21 25th Jul 2011, drolbor wrote:
    "Had Cav have won the Yellow Jersey he would have a good chance for SPOTY award but with Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy having great major wins I think he may be down the pecking order. Cav needs to win the thing first."

    ...which is like saying that Usain Bolt must win the Marathon before he could be recognised as a decent athlete.

  • Comment number 37.

    @mackemchas

    I'd like him to do better in the mountains as it would make him an overall better rider. Look at Thor, is Cav not capable of becoming a Thor?

    Surely sport is all about being the best you can be, not sitting at the back conserving energy for the days that suit you.

    Don't get me wrong, i'm a big fan and what he has achieved is unbelievable, but he won't get near sports personality of the year, not enough people know about him.

    Darren Clarke as it stands is a shoe in for that, but Cav will be in the top 3.

    Now that Cav has won the green jersey, maybe he'll look to improve his all round biking performance in the tour.

  • Comment number 38.

    He didn't "admit the new scoring system had helped". The new scoring system hindered, giving more weight to intermediate sprints.
    He was pleased that he still won, despite the changes.

  • Comment number 39.

    I would say the majority of sport fans have fallen out of love with football , corruption at the highest levels , failure of the england team , overpaid , under-educated , arrogant footballers who consistently fail to be role models tires people .

    Against this backdrop we have a sportsman making history in the greatest of cycle races which has a very long history and in a style and fashion no one has ever seen before . Cavendishes achievements in the world of cycling far outweigh those of Sir Chris Hoy or any other british cyclist . To see his interviews afterwards and to hear his first words always of the team and how thankful and humble he is contrasts starkly with football - dont forget Ryan Giggs was sports personality of the year .

    Cavendishes achievements go beyond many of our sporting legends .

    More or less everyone cycles or has cycled and when you look at it in the context of the world and history , Mark Cavendish deserves recognition and praise . I hope all the cyclists in the country vote for Mark as sports personality and the United fans did for giggs .

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm not a cycling fan but it is always good to see someone who is talented showing that promise no matter where he/she is from.

    I think Cycling could appeal to many, including me but I don't get this..how can Lance Armstrong win so many Tour de Frances if he hasn't won many stages? And how come Cavendish hasn't won the yellow jersey considering he has won so many?

    I know there is lots I don't understand, like the whole team thing (why are there teams?) but like many, if you don't understand it, why would you like it?

  • Comment number 41.

    @sirlemons11

    Cav has won 20 stages in the tour since 2008, and about a dozen more in the other two grand tours, Thor has won 8 since 2005. Thor has two green jerseys in that time (one of which could of been Cav's if it wasn't for a farcical deductions) and Cav has won 1 and been second twice. Cav has one Monument and Thor has none. Thor has won the world champs on the road, Cav should have his chance this year but already has two track world champs.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ Donwimble ...which is like saying that Usain Bolt must win the Marathon before he could be recognised as a decent athlete.

    Usain Bolt? The World Record holding Olympic Champion? How does Cav not winning the SPOTY award because he didn't get the Top Prize compared to the two golfers make you question his althleticism?

    I never said he wasn't a decent athlete but he didn't win did he? Cadel Evans won. Thats the be all and end all of TDF. The Yellow Jersey.

    King of the mountains, the White Jersey and Green is like winning the Carling Cup. People won't care if they haven't won it but love it when they do.

    ps. Usain Bolt probablt could win a Marathon if he had a go.

  • Comment number 43.

    The fact he is a Manxman should not affect SPOTY chances (after all the BBC has previously dished out the Team of the Year to the Ryder Cup winners and that team isn't even a UK or British team). Perhaps HTC should be given Team of the Year !
    Does he have a chance of winning SPOTY - no chance despite his achievement being by far and away the greatest by an athlete so far this year. Will this bother him - wouldn't think so, he's far too focused on winning cycling competitions and he'll probably win the equivalent of International SPOTY in Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, .......

  • Comment number 44.

    I don't see the need to belittle Sir Chris Hoy's achievements, 4 Olympic Golds, at least 10 World Championships.

    Cav himself says he can't do what Hoy does and Hoy says he can't do what Cav does.

    Why can't we just be happy that we have two cyclists at the very top of their chosen disciplines.

  • Comment number 45.

    Sirlemons11

    You don't understand the sport. Cav IS being the best that he can be, the green jersey is not a consolation prize, it is his ultimate goal. He will never, ever, be able to win the general classification at a Grand Tour. Nor will Thor Hushovd. They simply aren't the physical type that could do so. A Grand Tour is several races. Very few are contesting the yellow jersey. Very very few are like Eddy Merckx and able to contest every category, and most of those who try simply end up diminishing their effectiveness at what they are really good at.

    There are many different types of cyclist, and many different types of cycle race. Your criticism of Cav is analogous to your criticising Usain Bolt for not running the 5000 metres.

  • Comment number 46.

    In terms of being able to consistently deliver what is expected of him Cavendish is without a doubt one of the best sportsmen representing GB today. As someone else has pointed out you have to add Chrissie Wellington into the mix when arguing who is the greatest at the moment, I'd also put for Alistair Brownlee for that accolade too. But no doubt this guy is in the mix when it comes to that discussion, it's not so much about him being 3hrs+ behind the overall winner of the Tour or not having any olympic medals in his drawer, he's a road cyclist whose employed to be able to pedal at 75km/h at on the flat having cycled some 180-200km odd beforehand, which he does better than anybody alive today. Oh and did I mention that he has to sprint at that speed amongst a bunch of other cyclists doing the same thing where one wrong move can lead to a horrific crash, it takes supreme condition to be able to do what he does, but it also takes bravery.

  • Comment number 47.

    "Agree with Lempster. Cavendish should be recognised by the BBC come December but no doubt the masses will vote for some footballer."

    Actually in the 56 year's of SPOTY awards, only 5 recipients have been footballers.

  • Comment number 48.

    @37 Why would he want to become more like Thor? Thor won 2 stages this year, Cav won 5. Thor has won 10 (maybe 11?) Tour stages in his career, Cav has 20.

    Thor may have more green jerseys, but he is also a fair bit older. Time is very much on Cavendish's side.

  • Comment number 49.

    Cavendish is a great athelete, sportsman and person. I for one will be voting for him in the sports personality of the year! The guy has done wonders for the British cycling scene and i'll be rooting for him in his next race coming up soon!
    ryan reynolds workout

  • Comment number 50.

    @drolbor

    The yellow jersey is not the be-all and end-all of the TdF. The vast majority of the competitors are not trying to win it. Some are either trying to win one of the others, most are there to help their leader do so.

  • Comment number 51.

    @45

    Usain Bolts not doing a long event involving haven't to do the 5000 meters. You can't compare that.

    The Yellow Jersey is for doin the whole race in the shortest time.

    He can win it if he puts more effort in the Hills

  • Comment number 52.

    Lets put the hype into perspective. Cavendish is a sprinter but finished the race some 3 hours behind the winner. In perspective than means as Evans crossed the line at the end of the stage Cavendish was in effect just staring his time trial.

  • Comment number 53.

    Well done Cav, definitely our (British not UK) most dominant sportsman at present, in a sport (ie road cycling rather than track cycling) that we dont have a great history in really. And I think thats the thing, the fact that in cyclists like Brad Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, obviously Cav and to a slightly lesser extent David Miller and Ben Swift we are competing and prominent in the Tour and other cycle races throughout the year is slowly but surely making a difference in people's perception.

    With the formation of Team Sky, building on the exploits of Brad and G on the track and obviously what Cav is doing (on a side note Im not sure that Cav joining Sky will benefit him or the team really if they want Brad to challenge for a podium) I think its creating much more than just a passing interest in road cycling. Its always easier to enjoy a sport when you have someone, with genuine chances of success (ok maybe not to win the yellow jersey yet, but to be truly competitive) to support isnt it?

    Im not sure that the BBC going for the TV coverage of the Tour is either "a goer" or necessary really. Firstly the advertising income is necessary for covering the Tour, secondly everyone can watch on ITV4 either on digital or online, and the Eurosport coverage is also great for those who can get it. ITV4 is also better than ITV1 imo, it leaves those who want to watch their normal programs to do so on ITV1 and the sports coverage and scheduling is much easier on a 2nd channel. The trouble is that only Eurosport covers bike races throughout the year, whereas as ITV only cover the Tour. If the BBC were to cover the tour itd probably be via the red button.

    So in time I feel Cav will get the recognition he deserves as people come to realise that we have a true great in his field. As for this year's SPOTY (if it is relevent) already we have Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke who have done wonderful things this year so the competition is there already, and I wouldnt be surprised if Cav doesnt win it this year (or care that much to be honest). Itl be interesting if Cav becomes World Champion and Rory wins the USPGA!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    @50 that would be like Daley Thompson focussing on the trying to win Javelin and Pole Vaults and not going for Gold overall.

    Yellow Jersey.

    Top Prize.

    I bet he didn't have dreams as a kid of winning the Green Jersey?!

  • Comment number 55.

    drolbor:

    "I never said he wasn't a decent athlete but he didn't win did he? Cadel Evans won. Thats the be all and end all of TDF. The Yellow Jersey."

    I'm sorry but this just shows your lack of knowledge of cycling.

    You could equally say that Cadel Evans had a very poor TdF because he only won one stage, compared to Cav's five. Does this make him a less than decent athlete, then?

    The Usain Bolt analogy is actually quite good: Bolt is a sprinter and could obviously never win a marathon. Paula Radcliffe will never win the 100 m.

    But perhaps a better analogy is the Oscars: if this was the Oscars...

    Cav would win Best Actor, Sanchez Best Supporting Actor, Rolland would be Best Newcomer.

    Best Film would go to BMC.

    Cadel Evans would win... the Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Comment number 56.

    @sirlemons11

    You don't seem to grasp road racing at all. Cav doesn't have to improve his performance. At all. 5 stage wins, including the Champs and the green jersey - well it doesn't really get much, if any, better than that.

    I've never seen such brutally efficient consistency from a sprinter and I doubt I'll ever see the likes again in my lifetime. And I'm still in my thirties!

    If Sky want him, they will have some job to build a team capable of protecting Bradley or eventually Geraint for GC whilst simultaneously providing a suitable train to deliver him like HTC do.

    Congratulations Mark, brilliant performance.

    As to the maillot jaune Cadel Evans; well I thought his day had come and gone but he was brilliant too - lead a good team and did it himself when required.

    Great Tour.

  • Comment number 57.

    Agree with 2 and 3.
    So maybe Cav should be guaranteed the Overseas SPOTY!
    Think Darren Clarke will get the 'Housewives Choice" vote for SPOTY as the BBC will be keen to promote a winner arising from their own coverage.
    If it was an ITV4 SPOTY on the other hand - no contest.
    Cav. is becoming a great. The odd Olympic medal next year and a few more Stage Wins will see him there.
    Just remembered. Wasn't Tommy Simpson SPOTY in 1963? He's still remembered, judging by the cycle tyres on his monument up Mt Ventoux. So for Cav - it could happen.

  • Comment number 58.

    25 drolbor - Cav should win SPOTY because he is an athlete at the top of his game, whereas Darren Clarke is a nice guy in a Pringle sweater.

    26 tokyostory88 - Every Green Jersey winner of modern times has had a team behind him giving their star a "free ride" as you put it, it's just that HTC do it better than anyone before. And, the rules were not "bent" to keep him in. As more than 20% of the riders came in late in both instances Cav was involved in they were not eliminated. This is a rule in itself, and not a "bending".

  • Comment number 59.

    No

  • Comment number 60.

    42. At 12:45 25th Jul 2011, drolbor wrote:
    @ Donwimble ...which is like saying that Usain Bolt must win the Marathon before he could be recognised as a decent athlete.

    Usain Bolt? The World Record holding Olympic Champion? How does Cav not winning the SPOTY award because he didn't get the Top Prize compared to the two golfers make you question his althleticism?

    I never said he wasn't a decent athlete but he didn't win did he? Cadel Evans won. Thats the be all and end all of TDF. The Yellow Jersey.

    King of the mountains, the White Jersey and Green is like winning the Carling Cup. People won't care if they haven't won it but love it when they do.

    ps. Usain Bolt probablt could win a Marathon if he had a go.

    ------

    i dont claim to know everything about the Tour but i clearly know more than you. Yes the yellow jersey is the most prestigious, but that doesnt mean that the other jerseys are inconsequential.

    "People wouldnt care if they havent won it" - find Cav and see what he says about that.

    Usain Bolt win a marathon? Are you insane? Bolt doesnt run more than 400m because his body isnt designed to do so. He has fast twitch fibres which allow him to sprint. Marathon runners dont have these; their fibres are longer. Dont make a comment so ridiculous you will be laughed at please.

  • Comment number 61.

    Cavendish is undoubtedly the UK's top athlete at the present time and probably one of our greatest of all time. In no other sport have we had an athlete or team that has dominated, particularly against such a strong field of competitors.

    The only other athlete we have who comes close is Chrissie Wellington.

    On top of that, Cav is genuinely someone that we can look up to and be inspired by, hardly something that can be said of our whining, boozing, posing footballers, rubgy players, cricketers etc.

    Congratulations Mark, we're so proud!

  • Comment number 62.

    drolbor - no I totally disagree.

    The other jersey's do count. Cav WON the Green jersey - end of.

    You have to remember multi-stage cycling races are like several sports combined into one - all the cyclists have different agendas. I'm pretty sure Cav had no ambitions to win the yellow jersey (just like Cadel Evans didn't try and win stages) - the yellow jersey race isn't designed for men like Cav, it tends to be better suited to the mountain men.

    I'm not really sure you understand le Tour - which is fair enough, I think there is lies the problem...the British don't understand it otherwise it would have been major news that Cav became the first man ever to win back-to-back sprints in Paris.

    Long after the world has forgotten Chrissie Wellington, Chris Hoy, Darren Clarke et all - the rest of Europe will still remember Cavendish.

    I don't care if he's "officially" British - I just know he's one of the top sportsmen in the world today (and certainly deserves SPOTY by a mile - but suspect it will go to some golfer no-one will remember in 10 years).

    And for the record - I know you were (probably) joking, but let's be clear...Usain Bolt wouldn't stand a chance in a marathon.

    tokyostory88 - they did NOT bend the rules to allow him to continue racing. Stop making stuff up.... The rules state that if a large number of riders finish outside the cut-off then they are allowed to continue (they can take all day if they want) and they get docked 20 points from all classifications. Guess what - Cav got docked 20 points both times he finished outside classification.

  • Comment number 63.

    @52 whats your point? clearly you dont understand road cycling. Cavendish is like Usain Bolt in athletics. The Tour is like 21 marathons. What Cavendish does on flat stages is akin to Bolt running a marathon before he runs the 100m. The 3hr difference is due to having to also run marathons up some of the highest mountains in Europe. His body and physiology is not cut out for, and never, ever will be cut out for that kind of racing and yet he still has to complete these stages.

    A magnificent feat, no?

  • Comment number 64.

    Bit surprised by David Millar's comments that Mark Cavendish is a Super star in Belgium, France & Italy! We are down in the south of France & the club I ride with rate Bradley Wiggins higher. They consider Cavendish to be the best sprinter of his generation, but when it comes to "Le Tour" the general view is that he needs too much help to get "around" to be considered a super star. Wiggins by contrare is considered to be a "complete cyclist".
    I do hope however, that he gets the recognition that he deserves back home, though I think that is as likely as Rob Jebb even making the nominations for the BBC's Sports Nights awards. Why do I mention him? Because he is another "Great Athlete"that has won just about everything that there is to in a "minoroty sport," but gets zero recognition. It would be nice if the Bristish Press stopped following the sponsors & the number of "clicks" on web pages & tried once in a while to write about something different than Football, Rugby, Cricket & Golf.

  • Comment number 65.

    @60. It was a joke about Usain Bolt. That is why I put it in the p.s. Although your user name may suggest otherwise(?)

    @55 Cadel would win best Director. its probably the biggest prize at the Oscars.

    I'll repeat myself.

    The YELLOW jersey is the top prize in the TDF.

    That's what 99% of people who have little or lots of cycling knowledge will tell you.



  • Comment number 66.

    There are a lot of folk on here who simply do not understand cycling, and therein lies the problem in this country. I would imagine being a cycling fan in the UK is akin to being a cricket fan in the USA.
    What gets me is some of these folk trying to defend their ignorance. Admit you don't undertand it and you might learn something.

  • Comment number 67.

    @64 If thats what your French cycling mates think then thats their perogative but im inclined to take the view of a pro cyclist, who sees the crowd reaction to Cav all around France and Europe. Also the yellow jersey competitors get plenty of help to get around also, its a team sport afterall. HTC are very good at getting Cav into position in the bunch sprints no doubt, but they invariable have to set the pace in the peleton to catch breakaways. No other teams do anything and effectively get a free ride.

  • Comment number 68.

    It's a relief to see him finally get the green jersey. I met him on the day before the Grand Depart this year and he was very relaxed and willing to give his time. His success is remarkable, and the most ridiculous thing is he's 26. Barring disaster, he's got at least 8 years ahead of him at the level he's currently at.

    @52 "Cavendish is a sprinter but finished the race some 3 hours behind the winner"

    Who cares? Phillipe Gilbert is probably the best all-round cyclist in the world right now, but finished over 1 hour and 15 minutes down on Evans. Time is absolutely nothing if you've achieved the goal you've set out to achieve, which is what Cavendish did.

    @51 "He can win it if he puts more effort in the Hills"

    No, he really, really couldn't. It just doesn't work like that. The thought of Cavendish dancing on the pedals as he leaves the overall favourites behind on Alpe d'Huez is a hilarious image that said. But people just don't get it. He's the best at what he does, and like it or not, what he does is a very large part of cycling.

  • Comment number 69.

    Cav is a truly world class athlete and let's face it, we have very very few of those in Great Britain.
    We should all get behind him for SPOTY as this is a chance to back an allegedly minority sport that is capable of capturing the intrerests of young people in a sport which would offer improved health and fitness plus little environmental impact as a form of transport.
    Sadly, we appear to be showing kids that they should aim to become a footballer, despite the almost minimal chance of making it, as this route to fabulous wealth and the ability to behave the way you want.

  • Comment number 70.

    The Yellow Jersey is the top prize, but the other Jerseys are all prizes in their own right, and matter just as much to those competing for them. If Le Tour was only about the Yellow Jersey, and the other Jerseys were of little consequence, then why not just have a race between the 8 or 9 riders who actually have a chance of winning Le Maillot Jaune?

  • Comment number 71.

    Would SPOTY have presented a lifetime achievement award to one particulat recipient if his gagging order had not been in place?? I think not.

  • Comment number 72.

    61. At 13:11 25th Jul 2011, Chad wrote: "...Congratulations Mark, we're so proud!"

    ...very well said Chad ~ Mark Cavendish is truly inspirational and in December deserves to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011

    ...remember: vote4cav.com

  • Comment number 73.

    Is Cav the greatest UK athlete - I don't know. And I don't think you can ever have agreement in statements like that, as you can't compare sports people from different events in my book.

    Cav is the greatest cycling road racing sprinter in the UK (and in the world - ever) but Wiggo will beat him in overall classification every time (if he finishes).

    Lots of athletes can run faster than him and lots of sports people are stronger than him. Lots probably have more endurance than him as well.

    But one thing is certain, as I said before - he is the greatest sprinter in cycling the world has ever seen. And he is a superstar. Does it matter if not everyone has heard of him? No it doesn't - not in my book anyway.

  • Comment number 74.

    @67 take your point, however these boys do follow cycling closely & for example provide the support and Marshalling on the Tour de Provence & the Tour de Méditerranée so they are a bit more than your armchair pundits, but what I think gets up their Gaulic noses is that Cav has missed the "Cut Off" on a number of occasions and is not eliminated. The general view here is that he is unbeatable at 200 metres and it stops there. It would be totally different if if was French I am sure.

  • Comment number 75.

    @65 What you are not getting is this:

    The Yellow Jersey = Best Overall Time

    The Green Jersey = Best number of POINTS.

    Yes the yellow jersey is the most prestigious, and rightly so.

    However you absolutely need a Points Jersey because:

    a) the bunch sprints at the end of flat stages are uniquely exciting.
    b) if there were no prizes for winning sprints and stages then the cycling would be very dull.
    (What you need to realise and I dont think you get is that everyone within two bike lengths of the man in front gets THE SAME TIME, so Cav might win a stage easily and not gain any time on someone who finishes about 30secs later at the back of the bunch)
    c) You generally have to be a great climber AND time trialist to win the tour, only a few are, the rest might just be great time trialists (cancelarra), or great climbers (sanchez) on in Cavs case great sprinters. These (apart from maybe sanchez who may be able to improve his time trialling) will NEVER, EVER even have a hope of winning the Yellow jersey. But they all contribute to the whole spectacle of the event and as such are just as important as the GC contenders.

  • Comment number 76.

    @various :
    Re exclusion : I stated the rules were "bent" not "broken." Maybe a touch too subtle for you. Read my analysis again before you jump to the keyboard and type what you what to reply to. As I stated, he was allowed back in ONLY because the field would have been too small. ie there were so many others as well who were not up to the average.Hardly a ringing endorsement. In otherwords he would have been kicked out in a few more average cyclists had gone faster. But like many others who have no hope of winning, they just all take it easy in the knowldge that they will all be allowed to get through without trying -saving energy etc.... What a farce this event has become. If you want a sprint championship, go and hold one ..but because no one will be interested, they hijack another more established event and devalue it by creating meaningless sub-category of champions until well no one knows/cares about it other than some idiosyncratic teams trying to flog smart phones to a very unsmart audience.

  • Comment number 77.

    Thank you Cav and HTC for 3 fantastic weeks of sport. The live coverage as always on Eurosport was top along with ITV4 highlights for a different view. BBC and ITV1 could not put 4 hours+ of the Grand Tours per day for 3 weeks. Maybe a highlight show in a prime time would be away to improve coverage to the masses.

    Hopefully Cav will be able to go for Gold in London next year and get the SPOTY and public recognition he and others deserve. Best athlete and winner in GB by far

  • Comment number 78.

    SPOTY is not the be all and end all in sporting achievement folks. I'd rather have a Tour green jersey and 20 stage wins than some naff piece of plastic, or whatever it is, with the names like Greg Rusedski, Zara Philips, Steve Davis and not to mention Giggsy carved on it

  • Comment number 79.

    @74 and it would be totally different if Cav was French no doubt?

  • Comment number 80.

    @drolbar

    "I'll repeat myself.

    The YELLOW jersey is the top prize in the TDF.

    That's what 99% of people who have little or lots of cycling knowledge will tell you."

    No. As mightybooze states above, those that don't understand the sport should stop spreading their ignorance as a defence. You are top of that list.

    There were 198 riders that began the race. 31 dropped out through a combination of crashes, illness, and exhaustion. Of the remaining 167 that finished the race, there were realistically 5 riders that could actually win it:

    Evans
    A Schleck
    F Schleck
    Contador
    Voekler (who had the most incredible race).

    The rest of the genuine "contenders" proved once again to be pretenders (i.e. Cunago, Sanchez, Liepheimer).

    So you are suggesting that the other 160 odd riders are all losers?

    Or are we once again entering territory you have no idea about?

    So explain to the forum with all of your knowledge why Evans wins the race yet Team Garmin win the team award? Why didn't BMC win it as their rider won the race? I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 81.

    76 - It's not "bending" the rules, it IS a rule. As for the rest of your rant, you are hoist by your own petard.

  • Comment number 82.

    Yes, I think Cavendish is the best athlete currently. I can't take golf seriously as a sport while 60 year olds are still competing in the highest tournaments.

    I was wondering to myself though about what Cavendish's future might hold. I'm sure over the next two to three years he will be consolidating his hold on the sprints but I wonder if after that he will do what Wiggins did and lose weight to compete in the GC.

    Many people compare Cavendish to Bolt as an out and out sprinter but I think Hoy is a much better comparison to Bolt. I think the gap between tour sprint specialist and GC is a little closer. More of an 800m runner if you like.

    Cavendish has in the past won stages on his own without the lead-out train so he's not the handicapped specialist that might be suggested by the approach of HTC in the last couple of years. I think its just that the team have made the most of his finishing ability.

    Cavendish himself might think about changing his goals to see if its possible once he's achieved all he can as green jersey specialist.

  • Comment number 83.

    @74 He may have missed the cut off, but he did finish in groups consisting of 88 and 82 riders the two times he was outside the time limit this year.

    It's pretty clear that those who finish near the top of the GC are the better all round cyclists. They can climb better and they can happily finish within the bunch on a flat day.

    When it comes to a bunch sprint though, it's hard to bet on anything other than a Cavendish win.

  • Comment number 84.

    Cavendish is a supreb athlete.
    But in a country where the car is king..when to have the car in he garage undergoing repairs leave some owners in a state of mourning,there is no chance of the bloke being honoured or nationally acknowledged.
    It amazes me that the likes of Button and Hamilton are feted for driving what is in effect a grown up version of a video game..Cavendish has cycled nearly 2,500 in 3 weeks and still has the energy to hit maximum speed after 120 miles on the clock.
    I've cycled all my life and appreciate the athleticism this bloke has..but the adulation will stop at the Channel..unfortunately.

  • Comment number 85.

    @74 Yes Cav missed the cutoff time twice in this tour, by a few seconds each time i think, certainly it was about 15 seconds at the top of Alp d Huez. However, as someone has said in another post, this is COMPLETELY within the rules as:

    a) he was in a bunch of more than 80 other riders (should half the peleton, mainly sprinters and lead-out men be thrown off the tour and spoil the spectacle for the Champs Elysee?)

    b) he (and the others) clearly made every effort to make the cutoff time, as I said you are talking seconds outside, rather than minutes.

    The actual rules in place for this were applied to the letter.

    These riders would have not been in Paris if the cutoff time rule was strictly enforced:

    Hushovd
    Rojas
    Cav
    Gilbert
    Farrar
    Petacchi

    The green jersey race would have been decimated.

  • Comment number 86.

    @leadedbee

    "SPOTY is not the be all and end all in sporting achievement folks. I'd rather have a Tour green jersey and 20 stage wins than some naff piece of plastic, or whatever it is, with the names like Greg Rusedski, Zara Philips, Steve Davis and not to mention Giggsy carved on it"

    I think the issue is not that SPOTY is a prestigious award in world sport, but that it does actually mean genuine recognition of your achievements by the British public, as they vote for it. It would be a message that Cav's achievements mean something in the pysche of British sports fans.

    I'm struggling to think of another British sports person that dominates their chosen discipline as much.

  • Comment number 87.

    Watching Cav sprint to his wins is akin to watching Usain Bolt sprint to his. Sadly for Cav, the UK recognition stops there. Come on, let's get behind this guy and recognize him not only as a supreme world athlete but also as the great personality that he is.

  • Comment number 88.

    alscarr falling into the trap of confusing athletes with people who get paid to play a sport. Golfers are NOT athletes! Darren Clarek anyone!? Tiger Woods described himself as one because he was sponsored by Nike.

    Professional road racing cyclist are amongst the fittest, if not the fittest, athletes in the world. Check out the calorific output of a cyclist who has contested the Giro, TdeF, World Champs and Vuelta in one season.

    Sprinters don't climb at the front of the pack but neither to mountain goats time trial or sprint particularly well, Contador being the exception in this years TdeF individual time trial. Marathon runners don't sprint and no one expects them to.

    Lewis Hamiliton can't win without a team. Can anyone think of a sporting individual at the pinnacle of their profession who has attained greatness without a support structure be it practical, professional or otherwise.

    Cav is open in his praise and acknowledgment of his team mates. He still has to deliver. Imagine the leadout train delivering a sprinter time and time again who fails to convert that effort into victories. Every team fears and respects Cav because of what he's able to achieve race in and race out. Just listen to David Millar's appraisal!

    Green for Go!

  • Comment number 89.

    j0hnb1972 - spot on son.

    Congratulations to all the riders - professional road cycling is one of the most physically and mentally draining sports in the world, regardless of if you are a sprinter, climber etc. Cavendish is a superb sprinter and fully deserved the green jersey. Sure, he had a great team, but I thinks it's already been pointed out that he's won stages in the European Tours without the help of his team. You don't have a one of the best teams helping you in cycling if you aren't any good. The best footaball players don't play for teams in the Conference do they?
    As the SPOTY is a BBC award, surely it should only apply to the sports that the BBC covers? At least then the world tiddly-winks champion would finally get the look in they deserve...

  • Comment number 90.

    @80.

    Yes all the other 160 riders are losers.

    Evans won the race by doing all the stages collectively in the quickest time. That's why the race is all linked together and there's a prize for the winner.

    And Garmin won the race cause they couldn't get lost using their Garmin SatNavs to find their way around France.

  • Comment number 91.

    80 Beethovens left ear

    Agree with that.
    You could also add another question:

    How come Evans won the yellow - and is thus the "best" rider on the Tour - when he only won one stage? This puts him 4 wins behind Cavendish and one win behind Hushovd.


    Just a quick point about the cutoff times - I feel people are leaping on this "rule" without observing the history - they seem to be implying the rule is bent somewhat to accommodate Cav.
    Nothing could be further from the truth. The official attitude towards the cutoff time is actually far less lax than it used to be; many people in cycling circles believe the stricter application came in because of Cav. That the rule is still bent is down to pure logic: no one wants to see the number of riders reduced from 160 to 80 just because Contador decides to attempt a breakaway.

  • Comment number 92.

    Well done Cav.
    Forget the knockers, in 10 years time they will know what you've achieved, and regret not watching it or taking it seriously. Once every 10 years or so someone comes along and blows their competitors out of the water. That's what we're seeing now, savour it, because it doesn't last forever.

  • Comment number 93.

    "Cav is open in his praise and acknowledgment of his team mates. He still has to deliver. Imagine the leadout train delivering a sprinter time and time again who fails to convert that effort into victories. Every team fears and respects Cav because of what he's able to achieve race in and race out. Just listen to David Millar's appraisal!"

    Which is why when he didn't deliver when expected, Cav was absolutely gutted, because he felt he had let the team down.

    However, for me boxing is the toughest sport out there as you're being hit at the same time. That said an extremely fit member of my team at work who cycled in the Etape made it very clear to me how hard the event was!

  • Comment number 94.

    I find it unbearable to read some of these comments, If you know nothing about
    the subject in question then is it not best to keep your opinions to yourself instead
    of embarrassing yourself with statements like "He can win it if he puts more effort in the Hills"

    Cav is an out and out sprinter (albeit after 200 K) and sprint he does like noone else in the world.

    Great work by Cadel, truely deserves his win.. Good enough to live with the Schlecks/Contador in
    the mountains even putting in a few attacks of his own..
    and good enough to blow away Cancellara in the TT.. Does it get any better???

    For all you Cavendish doubters out there -> Did you ever see Cavendish and Evans fight it out for win??

    That's because there are races within races and the two compete in different races within races..

    And that's why the TDF is so great to watch and admire..

  • Comment number 95.

    @90 But Le Tour isn't just a race. It's 21 races. Cav won 5 of them. Similar to the F1 season, except F1 doesn't pay attention to who completes their races in the quickest overall time. The green jersey is the F1 championship of Le Tour...kind of, in a way, if you squint your eyes a bit.

  • Comment number 96.

    tokyostory88 the rules where not bent and were the same before this year. Read some history first before making comment. The rules were not bent but applied.

    drolbor, again, go and look up the history of the KOM and Points Jerseys. Bet you think Armstrong is the best rider of all time as he won the TDF yellow more than anyone else. Look up Eddy Merckx's, a rider who won all Jerseys in one TDF and one Giro.

  • Comment number 97.

    Surely Phil Taylor coming 2nd last year removes all credibility of the SPOTY?? Admitadly a very good darts player but an overweight, convicted sexual abuser receiving any sort of 'sports' award is just ridiculous.

    Congrats to Cav, I can't quite work out if some of the comments on here are genuine or just wind-ups... He's never going to win the yellow jersey!

  • Comment number 98.

    90.At 14:01 25th Jul 2011, drolbor wrote:
    @80.

    Yes all the other 160 riders are losers.

    Evans won the race by doing all the stages collectively in the quickest time. That's why the race is all linked together and there's a prize for the winner.

    And Garmin won the race cause they couldn't get lost using their Garmin SatNavs to find their way around France.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You are a troll and a no-nowt, which is sad. Youv taken time out of your day to comment on a subject that you clearly have little knowledge of with the sole intention of downgrading the achievements of a true British sporting great.

    Im not going to bother asking you any questions about the technicalities of road racing as you have prooved that you simply dont understand what the hell is going on. But i will ask you this......

    ......why?

  • Comment number 99.

    Ok. I'll concede. I'll slink away into the shadows and admit I don't know enough about Cycling.

    My hat off to you guys. Well argued.

    I'm sure someone else will attempt the argument when the country cares about road cycling again next year.

  • Comment number 100.

    "a) the bunch sprints at the end of flat stages are uniquely exciting.
    b) if there were no prizes for winning sprints and stages then the cycling would be very dull."

    Two very good points.

    There is no doubt the yellow jersey is the most prestigious of awards but you would wonder how boring the competition would be without the green and polka-dot jersey awards. Indeed what would be the point of celebrating an individual stage win at all, let alone having a podium to award the top three each stage?

 

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