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Mark Cavendish and his family have been left "extremely distressed" after the British cycling champion was assaulted by a group of armed burglars who also threatened his wife in a home invasion.
Four armed intruders entered Cavendish's home in Essex on November 27 in what police described as a "targeted incident".
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The Tour de France hero was recovering at home at the time after sustaining significant injuries from a crash at a track event in Belgium.
The 36-year-old suffered two broken ribs and a collapsed lung in Ghent less than a week before the burglary.
Police said the group assaulted Cavendish and threatened his wife Peta in the presence of their young children.
"As I'm sure you will understand, this incident has left our family extremely distressed - not just myself and Peta but our children as well, who feared for their lives and are now struggling with the after-effects," Cavendish said in a statement as police revealed CCTV footage of the theft on Wednesday.
"No one should have to experience the sort of violence and threats made against us, let alone this happening in a family home - a place where everyone should feel safe.
"The items taken are simply material goods and our priority at the moment is to make sure we all recover from the incident as a family, and we know this is likely to take some time."
Mark Cavendish & his family experiencing stuff of nightmares here. Sending all my best wishes. pic.twitter.com/2tyjLj10lT
— Beth Fisher (@BethFisherSport) December 8, 2021
Mark Cavendish and family rocked by horrific incident
None of the family sustained serious injuries and the burglars left, stealing a designer suitcase and two high-value watches.
"But far, far worse to be taken was the sense of security, safety, privacy and dignity that our young family and everybody else is entitled to in their own home," Peta said.
"The effect that this nightmare has had on our family is already heartbreakingly evident."
No arrests have yet been made.
"This was undoubtedly a targeted incident at the home of a celebrated British Olympian, who at the time was recovering from significant injuries resulting from a crash whilst competing, which was well publicised," said Detective Inspector Tony Atkin, the senior investigating officer on the case.
"Mr Cavendish and his wife were assaulted and threatened in their own home, in the presence of their young children, who witnessed these events.
"Thankfully, they are recovering, but the traumatic effect will be long standing."
Cavendish won four stages of the 2021 Tour de France to equalled Belgian legend Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins.
“We know an incident such as this will naturally cause a lot of concern within the community," Detective Atkin added.
“There will continue to be a visible policing presence in the area as our investigations progress in the coming days.”
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