Cavendish, the former banker who learned to win in Italy and is now at Merckx height

Cavendish, the former banker who learned to win in Italy and is now at Merckx height

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Cavendish, the former banker who learned to win in Italy and is now at Merckx height

At the roots of the Briton who reached the Cannibal with 34 stage wins in the Boucle: the first success in a great lap came in Catanzaro Lido

Now the fact that he dabbled in dance as a child, or that as a teenager he worked as a bank teller in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man, almost makes you smile. But the roots of Mark Cavendish, arguably the strongest sprinter in history, are these. And they are intertwined with Italy, which played a key role in the growth of the 36-year-old Briton of the Deceuninck-Quick Step who by winning the sprint in Carcassonne – stage 13 of the Tour de France 2018 – reached 34 stage wins in the Boucle as Eddy Merckx . And it might even overcome it. Maybe in Paris, on the Elysian Fields, on the last day, with the green jersey of the points classification …

TUSCANY – Italy, yes. How can we forget that his first victory in a grand tour (now there are 51 in all) was obtained at the Giro d’Italia, in Catanzaro Lido, in 2008, over Forster and Bennati. Or that in 2009 he signed the first (and only) Monument always at a glance from the sea, the Milan-Sanremo. Or that he has a house in his beloved Tuscany, in Quarrata, where he also prepared this Tour de France by sleeping in the home of dear friend Max Sciandri. Or again the burning defeat of the Rio 2016 Games in the Omnium, silver beaten by … our current standard-bearer, Elia Viviani.

UPS AND DOWNS – Of course, Cav’s career – 155 successes, minus 3 from record holder Greipel – has not only had joys. As he himself had told, depression bit his calves. At the 2017 Tour he had to retire after Vittel’s controversial sprint which led to the disqualification of Peter Sagan. And at the end of 2020 he had practically stopped running – remember the tears at the end of the Ghent-Wevelgem – before Patrick Lefevere extended his hand to him at the Deceuninck-Quick Step for a sensational return that gave rise to one of the most sensational returns of the whole history of sport. Married to Peta Todd, former model often appeared on the English tabloids, with whom he had three children, Cavendish hugged all his companions (including our Dancers and Cattaneo) before being moved, he that “Merckx must not even name him”. “I can’t believe it, I didn’t think about the record. I died, it was hot, the finish was pulling slightly. I died, my teammates were incredible once again ”. I’m 34, Mark. And counting, as they say in your language: the series is still, incredibly, open.

July 9, 2021 (change July 9, 2021 | 18:36)