Nationality: British
Date of birth: May 21, 1985
Height: 175cm
Weight: 69kg
Team: Dimension Data

Mark Cavendish is firmly established as one of the greatest British cyclists of all time, with more than 140 professional wins to his name: 48 stage wins across all three Grand Tours with a points classification jersey at each, victories at Scheldeprijs, Milan-San Remo and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, as well as a world and a national road race championship to go with stages at prestigious races like Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Suisse. Quite simply, Cavendish is the greatest road sprinter of his generation.

Having graduated through British Cycling’s Olympic Academy track programme under the close watch of coach Rod Ellingworth, Cavendish had his breakthrough on the road in 2008. He won Scheldeprijs in April, two stages at the Giro d’Italia in May and recovered in time to take four stages of that July’s Tour de France, abandoning after stage 14 to focus on the Madison race at the Beijing Olmypics (he and Wiggins, reigning world champions, could only finish ninth).

Cav continued to dominate in 2009, taking four stages (including a TTT) at the Giro and six at the Tour as well as a famous win in the 100th edition of Milan San-Remo (only the second Brit to win after Tom Simpson in 1964), and in 2010, winning five stages at the Tour and two at the Vuelta en route to his first Grand Tour point classification jersey.

In 2011, he was named as the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, becoming only the third cyclist to win the award after the late Tommy Simpson in 1965 and Sir Chris Hoy in 2008. Although he had only won 12 races they included two stages of the Giro, five Tour de France stages and the green jersey, and the road race world championship title.

The following year he rode for Team Sky, but was released from his contract after the team failed to give him their full support in Grand Tours. He nonetheless managed to win Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and three stages apiece at the Giro and Tour.

Cav returned to winning ways at Omega-Pharma-Quick Step in 2013, winning stages at the Tour of Qatar and Tour de San Luis in the early season. He took five stages and the points classification at the Giro d’Italia (wearing pink for a day after winning stage one) and won his first national road race title, but just the two stages at the Tour (where Marcel Kittel won four, including on the Champs Elysees) and the Manxman didn’t win a single Grand Tour stage in 2014, crashing and injuring his shoulder on the very first stage of the Tour, settling instead for stages at the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico among others.

His 2015 season was a story of two halves. He began in typically authoritative style, first taking overall victory in the Dubai Tour and following up with victory in the one-day Classic Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

But Cavendish’s name is synonymous with the Tour de France and 2015’s race was a disappointment by his exceptionally high standards. One stage win is a relatively poor haul for the Manx Missile, but it did lift him to 26 Tour stage victories at Le Grand Boucle.

Despite a legacy of success with the Belgian team, Cavendish left Etixx-Quick Step in the off-season to join Dimension Data, reuniting with former teammates Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel and his leadout man of choice Mark Renshaw.

He didn’t leave his new team waiting long for his first win, taking stage one of the 2016 Tour of Qatar to get off the mark for the African outfit. Cav then wore the maillot jaune at the Tour in July for the first time in his career and claimed four stage victories, taking his Grand Tour stage win total to 30 and putting him second to Eddy Merckx (with 34).

Next, Cavendish filled in another blank on his CV by claiming the silver medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games omnium on the track.

An attempt to take his second road race world title fell tantalisingly short, as he finished second to Peter Sagan. That was not it for Cavendish, though, as he won the Ghent Six Day in November with partner Bradley Wiggins, becoming the first British pairing to do so.

Cavendish currently tops our list of British all-time winners and it is hard to see him being surpassed any time soon.

Major results: Tour de France 2016 | Ghent Six Day 2016 | Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2015 | National championships 2013 | Tour de France 2011 | World title 2011 | Milan-San Remo 2009 | Tour de France 2008 | Scheldeprijs 2007

Mark Cavendish 2016 Abu Dhabi Tour stage one

The Abu Dhabi Tour kicks off on Thursday, boasting a star-studded start list for its four days of racing in the United Arab Emirates (October 20-23)