Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK has expressed the pride of the Manx nation after Mark Cavendish competed with distinction in today’s (Saturday, July 28, 2012) cycling road race at London 2012.
Cavendish started as one of the main medal hopefuls, but was not in contention for a podium finish at the end of a tactical and gruelling 250km event. The Team GB riders could not chase down a breakaway group and deliver Cavendish to a sprint finish as planned.
The Chief Minister said:
‘On behalf of the people of the Isle of Man I would like to say how proud we are of Mark’s performance this afternoon. We were all glued to our televisions and cheering him on. He gave it everything, as he always does, but unfortunately it was not to be on this occasion. I know Mark is the ultimate competitor and will be disappointed not to have won gold, but he is still Britain’s most successful cyclist of all-time and a real hero in the Isle of Man. We have all watched with great delight in recent years as he has won World championships on the road and track, gold at the Commonwealth Games, 23 stages of the Tour de France, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award, and been awarded an MBE.’
Mr Bell added:
‘As a nation, the Isle of Man works hard to create an environment that nurtures talent and allows our young people to flourish, and it is extremely satisfying to see them compete at the very highest level. The Island promotes a healthy and active lifestyle and our challenging landscape is proving an ideal training ground for a production line of top-class cyclists. By winning titles all over the world and taking part at the Olympics, Mark has proved what our young people can achieve if they have the ability, determination and support, and I hope others will follow his shining example.’
The amazing depth of cycling talent in the Isle of Man is highlighted by the fact that another Manx rider, World champion and World record holder Peter Kennaugh, has medal ambitions in the men’s team pursuit.
Mr Bell said:
‘Everybody in the Isle of Man will now be throwing their full support behind Peter when he competes at the London Velodrome.’