London 2012

Mark Cavendish

Known to many as the 'fastest man on two wheels,' Mark Cavendish has his sights firmly set on winning Britain's first gold medal of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Having developed his cycling career through the 'British Olympic Academy' programme, the Isle-of-Man born athlete began on a BMX bike before he was given a mountain bike when he was 13-years-old.

Fascinating Facts

  • He once competed in Latin American at the ballroom dancing National Championships.
  • Two years after he finished school he worked in a bank full-time.
  • His girlfriend is ex-glamour model Peta Todd and they are expecting their first baby in April.

The 26-year-old, who now specialises primarily in road racing, has been both World and Commonwealth Games champion on the track.

However his relationship with track cycling took a hard hit at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Cavendish claimed that he would never return to the track after he was the only member of Team GB to not claim an Olympic medal. He finished ninth with his partner at the time, Bradley Wiggins.

On the road, the "Manx Missile" had a successful debut in 2007, gaining 11 wins which made him - at that point - the most successful professional debutant in European road racing history.

He also claimed victory in one of cycling's biggest classic races, Milan-San Remo, in 2009.

In the period between 2008 -2012, he accrued 23 Tour de France stage wins to move to fourth on the all-time list, and in the latest Tour Cavendish claimed his fourth consecutive win on the Champs-Elysees. This saw him become the first world champion to win what is viewed as the showpiece stage for sprinters.

It was in 2011 that he won the Rainbow Jersey at the World Championships.

His achievements were recognised at the end of the 2011 season when he was awarded an MBE for 'Services to British Cycling' as well as the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award.

Cavendish has prepared for the Olympic Games and the challenges of climbing Box Hill nine times by losing 4kg and that helped him win his first overall stage race title at the ZLM Toer.