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Mark Cavendish to retire from cycling at end of 2023 season

Calling it a day: Mark Cavendish will end his illustrious cycling career at the end of the 2023 season (AFP via Getty Images)
Calling it a day: Mark Cavendish will end his illustrious cycling career at the end of the 2023 season (AFP via Getty Images)

Mark Cavendish has announced plans to retire from cycling.

The ‘Manx Missile’, currently competing at a gruelling Giro d’Italia with the Astana Qazaqstan Team, will end his illustrious 18-year professional career at the end of the current 2023 season.

Cavendish is one of Britain’s most celebrated cyclists of all-time and one of the sport’s greatest-ever sprinters, equalling Eddy Merckx’s long-standing record of most Tour de France stage wins (34) at the 2021 race. The 38-year-old could yet set his own record at the next edition of cycling’s biggest race, which begins in Paris in July.

His extensive list of accomplishments on the road also includes 16 stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and three at the Vuelta a Espana, plus World Road Race Championship gold in 2011.

Cavendish also has a haul of medals from his time as a track cyclist, including silver in the Omnium at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He also has three Madison golds from the World Championships and triumphed in the Scratch while representing his native Isle of Man at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

"I've absolutely loved racing every kilometre of this race so far, so I feel it's the perfect time to say it's my final Giro d'Italia and 2023 will be my final season as a professional cyclist,” Cavendish said at a press conference alongside his family in Coccaglio on Monday.

"Yesterday I celebrated my 38th birthday. Like many others I've been struggling with sickness during the race as well as the effects of some unfortunate crashes. To get me through, I can't thank this group of friends enough.

"Cycling has been my life for over 25 years. I have lived an absolute dream and the bike has given me the opportunity to see the world and meet some incredible people.

"It's taught me so much about life - dedication, loyalty, companionship, teamwork, sacrifice, humility and perseverance - all things that now, as a father, I can show my children."