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Mark Cavendish; My Sporting Hero

OK I know this is supposed to be a weight loss blog but I simply cannot let the opportunity pass to say many congratulations to my all time favourite sporting hero, Mark Cavendish on becoming World Road Race Champion 2011. A richly deserved victory and one that establishes Cav as a sporting icon. 

I wrote a blog fairly recently about how I admired Lance Armstrong but Cav is my ultimate sporting hero, even pipping Bernard Hinaud, 5 times Tour de France Champion in my affections.  All three are similar characters. They are winners. A simple test of sporting greatness is to see who all the children playing on their bikes and taking the first tentative pedal strokes would like to be. It used to be Lance Armstrong, but now all the kids will want to be Mark Cavendish. It’s an interesting indication of Cav’s self-belief that when he was a youngster in the Isle of Man, on being asked by his little mates who he would like to be in their pretend Tour de France he replied “Mark Cavendish”.

I bought all the papers yesterday so that I could read the eulogies to Cav and the rest of the British cycling team who did a magnificent job in controlling the race from start to finish.  Ian Chadband in the Telegraph wrote that “British sport possesses a once in a lifetime national treasure, a supreme athlete who may not just be the finest road race sprinter cycling has witnessed, but also Britain’s greatest current sportsman”. Richard Williams in the Guardian wrote Cavendish has “pulled off something so exceptional that it must finally cement his position in the British sporting pantheon”.  Cavendish, who now lives in Italy and enjoys rock star status over there is still relatively unknown in this country where competitive road race cycling is rarely shown on the main TV Channels and is little understood.

The fact that British cycling has boomed meant that the other riders in the Great British team Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Chris Froome, Jeremy Hunt and Steve Cummings rode a magnificent race, forming a GB juggernaut that dominated the peleton from start to finish.   Millar said of Cavendish, “What can you say about Cav? He’s a funny little b******. We’ve watched every race together in our room and every time we’ve watched a finish he’s been off his bed, shouting “I promise I’m going to win on Sunday”.  Such self belief!

So, will Cav join Team Sky?  I notice today in the papers that hideous, cretinous Sky slogan Believe in Better (better what? Better custard? Better understanding of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophus? Better parking facilities at Birmingham New Street Station?) has been changed for a day to Believe in Britain. Yes, finally we have a British sportsman who makes me proud to be British and Mark, if you happen to be reading this and if, when your cycling days are over, you succumb to too much pasta and fruit cake, you can have a gastric band on me, for free!

Dr David Ashton

19th September 2011

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