Mark Cavendish

AGED 32 – 175CM | 70KG CY­CLIST, MAS­TER SPRINTER

Men's Health (UK) - - The Body Issue 2017 -

Just four months ago, Mark Cavendish’s fu­ture looked un­cer­tain. With Le Tour ap­proach­ing, in­jury threat­ened to aban­don him at Dover. His ab­sence on the track was later at­trib­uted to Ep­stein-barr – a virus that can lead to fever and en­larged or­gans.

“I was in in­cred­i­ble form, then all of a sud­den I just wasn’t win­ning,” says the Team Di­men­sion Data cy­clist. Thank­fully, a four-week re­cov­ery pe­riod saw him re­turn to full health, if not quite full fit­ness. On set in May for our shoot, he is no­tably ex­cited about hav­ing just com­pleted his first week of train­ing in two months.

For any­one else, this kind of set­back might have been de­bil­i­tat­ing, but Cav’s com­pet­i­tive record sug­gests a sin­gu­lar drive for suc­cess. As a track cy­clist he took home a sil­ver medal in the om­nium at the 2016 Olympics. As a road cy­clist he has won 30 Tour de France stages, mak­ing him the sec­ond most suc­cess­ful stage cy­clist of all time.

De­spite be­ing renowned for his blis­ter­ing sprint fin­ishes, Cavendish’s se­cret lies in pun­ish­ing rides of five hours, six days a week. It’s an ap­proach that has served him well, de­spite his need to ex­cel in vastly dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines. “Road and track are sep­a­rate sports,” he con­firms. “It’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween an F1 car and a rally car. Or like Andy Mur­ray play­ing squash. My body has to do both.”

For the velo­drome, Cavendish fo­cuses on de­vel­op­ing the core strength needed to shift his weight from side to side. For Le Tour, it’s in­ter­vals and hill climbs.

His diet dif­fers, too. Track cy­cling is ex­plo­sive, fu­elled by mus­cle built on pro­tein and yet more pro­tein. But Le Tour de­mands a leaner ath­lete, and thus an in­ven­tive ap­proach to calo­rie re­stric­tion: “If I go out on the bike early, I’m hungry when I get back and re­fuel at lunch and din­ner. But if I go out later, I miss lunch and only end up eat­ing two meals.”

Cavendish is op­ti­mistic about Le Tour, but has a cau­tious eye on Tokyo 2020. “I’ve achieved ev­ery­thing I can, apart from an Olympic gold,” he says. “That’s still the am­bi­tion.” In the more im­me­di­ate fu­ture? “The next goal,” he says, “is

al­ways to just keep on win­ning.”

TWO-TRACK MIND VAR­IED AND COM­PLEX PREPA­RA­TION HELPS CAVENDISH DOM­I­NATE IN BOTH ROAD AND TRACK DIS­CI­PLINES

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.