Mark Cavendish announces his retirement from cycling: ‘It’s the perfect time’

Mark Cavendish is set to retire at the end of 2023  (PA Archive)
Mark Cavendish is set to retire at the end of 2023 (PA Archive)

Mark Cavendish has announced that he will retire from cycling at the end of the 2023.

The British rider will conclude his time as a professional at the end of the season, bringing the curtain down on one of the most successful careers in the sport’s history.

Speaking at the Giro d’Italia, Cavendish said. “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 and 2023 will be my final season as a professional cyclist.”

The sprinter has won a joint-record 34 stages at the Tour de France and became world champion on the road in 2011.

On the track, Cavendish took silver in the omnium at the 2016 Rio Olympics and won three World Championship golds in the madison.

His 161 victories as a professional, which also include 16 stages at the Giro d’Italia are the third-highest of any male rider in history and he is widely regarded as the greatest sprinter that road cycling has ever seen.

The 38-year-old joined Astana Qazaqstan at the start of this season and will hope to go to the Tour de France in July, where he could surpass Eddy Merckx as the outright most successful stage hunter at the race.

“Cycling has been in my life for more than 25 years. I’ve lived a dream,” Cavendish said after confirming his retirement. “The bike has given me the opportunity to see the world and meet fantastic people.

“I love the sport more than you can even imagine and I can’t see myself going too far from it, that’s for sure.

“When you understand it’s not forever, it’s easier to enjoy every feeling this sport has to offer.

“Today is my son Casper’s fifth birthday, fortunately it’s a rest day and I can spend his birthday with him. I think it’s important now that I can be there for every birthday for my wife Peta and all our children.

“It’s important I can see all their school concerts and support them in their sporting competitions and it’s important I can run around with them without fear of injury or getting sick.”