Mark Cavendish, self-styled “Boy Racer” (or “Cav” in familiar circles) has been awarded an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Cavendish was the star of the European road sprinting scene in 2007, when he rode his first full season with German sponsor, T-Mobile; with 11 wins his was the most successful professional debut in European road racing history. He won 4 stages in the 2008 Tour de France (unprecedented at the time for a Brit) but surpassed himself in 2009 with 6 stage wins and added a further 5 to his bag at the 2010 Tour. Currently riding high this season for HTC-Highroad and with stage wins at Oman and Giro d’Italia plus overall victory at Scheldeprijs, he is still seen as a rising star with high-hopes for medal potential at the 2012 London Games.
The award of the MBE is another clear indication that the profile of professional cycling is still steadily on the rise and if Cavendish can continue this season as he has started it and strike it rich at this year’s Tour de France he could well be a shoe-in for the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year (he was nominated in both 2009 and 10).