If there is any justice in the world then Mark Cavendish WILL win this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. The British cycling star won an unprecedented 6 Tour de France stages this summer and is widely regarded as the best sprinter in the world, but for all his success in 2009 he still remains a relative unknown on British soil.
Why? Well, one of the reasons is that the TDF has never received much recognition in Britain partly due to the fact that there hasn’t been a lot of home interest to follow in the race.
The Tour and road racing as a whole has been in the shadow of track racing for sometime, but thanks to the heroics of Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins that could all be about to change.
The TDF is the most gruelling sporting event in the world. The annual bicycle race typically lasts for 21 days (stages) and covers 3,500km. Apart from 2 rest days, if a cyclist is not asleep then they can be found slumped over their bike competing in the toughest race there is.
Cavendish, who also won 4 Tour stages in 2008, won the monumental classic Milan-Sanremo in March, as well as picking up 3 stage wins in the 2009 Giro d’Italia deserves not only a SPOTY nomination, but the accolade of Britain’s greatest sporting personality of 2009.
Jenson Button, Andrew Strauss and Tom Daley currently head the betting for this year’s event, but their achievements do not stand up to that of Cavendish’s consistent triumphs in 2009.
As anyone with a passing interest in cycling knows, the Manx Missile is certainly a personality among the peloton. Cav has been quoted as saying ‘When journalists at the Tour de France ask me if I am the best sprinter, I answer ‘Yes’, and that’s seen as arrogance, but if they don’t ask me, I don’t say I’m the best sprinter in the world.’
His cock-sure approach, which comes through strongly in his book Boy Racer, should be applauded rather than dismissed as arrogance. Mark Cavendish has a winning mentality and most importantly is a winner.
Next year’s TDF can’t come quick enough for Cav as he bids to land the green jersey, but first he deserves his exceptional accomplishments of the last 12 months to be noticed at December’s BBC SPOTY ceremony.
I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father. — Greg Norman