Mark Cavendish, one of Britain’s most successful cyclists, will retire at the end of the season.
In 2021, he equaled Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour de France victories.
During a press conference at the Giro d’Italia, Cavendish, 38, said, “Cycling has been my life for over 25 years.
“You taught me so much about life, dedication, loyalty, sacrifice and perseverance — all important things to pass on now as a father.”
Cavendish enjoyed a glittering career as a sprinter, taking victories on the flatter, faster stages of the races, particularly in the Grand Tours.
He has won 161 races since 2005 and has won two green points jerseys at the Tour.
Cavendish’s other major accomplishments include a silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, 2011 World Road Championship rainbow jersey, monument to the 2009 Milan-San Remo one-day classic, 16 stages in the Giro d’Italia and three in the Vuelta a Espana.
He is currently riding for Astana Kazakhstan in the Giro, which finishes in Rome on Sunday.
Cavendish has been plagued by injury and illness since 2017, hinting at the end of the 2020 season that he may retire.
But after he returned to the level the following year, he won four more Tour stages and the green jersey in his second stint with the successful Quick Step team, which helped revitalize his career.
Cavendish and his family were victims of a Violent robbery In their home in 2021.
He was dropped from Quick Step’s Tour squad the following year, after which he was signed to Astana Qazaqstan for 2023.
He will attempt to break the Tour stage winning record at this year’s race, which begins in Bilbao, Spain, on July 1.
Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, showed promise as a road and mountain bike racer and was then part of a new era of investment in cycling in Britain, which saw British cycling dominate the racecourse at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Cavendish began his career in 2005 on a feeder team for T-Mobile, and won his first stage in 2008 for Team Columbia.
He was known throughout his career as the “Manx Rocket” due to his extreme finishing speed during sprints.
At 5 feet 7 inches, he has a low center of gravity and can adopt an aerodynamically advantageous position on the bike during powerful bursts of speed.
Cavendish has dominated the sprint for many years and is considered a huge influence on young riders across the peloton, including up-and-coming British talent like Team Quick-Step’s Ethan Vernon.
Cavendish is known to have a fiery personality on and off the bike at times, and during the 2021 Tour he was filmed berating a team mechanic before the stage.
Former Quick-Step coach Tom Stills told BBC Sport last year: “When he gets off the team bus, you never know if he’ll be back in five minutes like a wild bull because something is wrong with the bike.
“But you can always talk to him and once he fixes it, it’s over. It’s not personal at all, but you never know how he might respond.”
Cavendish is very popular in the peloton and fiercely defends fellow riders who criticize them.
He hinted at the end of his career last year when he told BBC Sport: “I want to be a father and husband more than I can be when I’m on the road – spending time at home, doing the normal things and seeing my kids grow up.”