Recognised as one of the fastest sprinters in the world, Mark Cavendish won six stages of the 2009 Tour de France – a record achievement for a British cyclist. This followed on from 2008 when he won four stages.
Cavendish won the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 11th, 19th and 21st stages and in winning the third stage he became the first Briton to hold the green jersey for two days in a row.
Cavendish's win on stage 11 enabled him to reclaim the green jersey from rival Thor Hushvold and equalled Barry Hoban’s British record of eight Tour de France stage wins. Winning the 19th stage, Cavendish set a new record for Tour de France stage wins by a British rider.
Also in 2009 he won the Milan–San Remo Classic, known as one of the ‘five monuments of cycling’, and the Sparkassen Giro Bochum.
And in September he recorded the 50th win of his road racing career in a sprint finish in the opening stage of the Tour of Missouri.
During 2009 he also won three stages of Giro d'Italia, two stages of the Tour de Suisse, the final stage of Tirreno Adriatico, two stages of Three Days of De Panne, two stages and the sprint jersey at the Amgen Tour of California, two stages of the Tour of Qatar and a stage win at the Tour of Ireland.
He had begun riding BMX at a young age, racing at the National Sports Centre in Douglas. He said: "I was always riding a bike, getting dropped in little races. My mum would laugh at me, and I said it was because all my mates had mountain bikes, so I asked for a mountain bike for my 13th birthday and got one.”