Great Britain's Mark Cavendish drops in at number seven in our 100 Best Road Riders of 2016 countdown
7. Mark Cavendish
31, Great Britain, Dimension Data
2016 wins: 10
By the high standards to which he holds himself, and with his insatiable want for victory, Mark Cavendish could look back on 2016 with a tinge of disappointment.
In the hunt for his second World Championships road race title, the 31-year-old came up agonisingly short to Peter Sagan on the roads of Qatar. Likewise, his key target of an Olympic gold medal didn’t come to fruition (again) after missing out to Elia Viviani in the Omnium in Rio.
Most riders could make their career with two prestigious silvers, but that’s unlikely to satisfy a man used to so much glory.
Still, for a rider combining a road and track season, Cavendish cleared up where it counted.
Few riders will take multiple stage wins in a single edition of the Tour de France, and only one rider can count more stage wins in their entire career, but it was a return to the imperious form of old for the Manxman at this year’s edition.
He took on and beat the world’s best sprinters not just once, but four times, and completed a lifelong dream in the process.
After 26 stage wins, Cavendish had never worn the coveted maillot jaune of the Tour. But after beating Marcel Kittel to the line in Utah Beach on stage one, the Briton took to the first podium of the 2016 Tour to collect first leader’s jersey of the race. He couldn’t hold onto it past stage two, but it didn’t matter, he’d done it and became one of only three British riders to wear the leader’s jersey at all of the Grand Tours.
Add in the likes of the Tour of Qatar overall victory an multiple stage wins throughout the year to the mix and Cavendish is looking better than ever, with a palmarès that can’t seem to stop growing.