Help for Heroes patron Mark Cavendish secured the coveted green jersey in Sunday’s final stage of the Tour de France – and everybody at the Charity sends their best wishes and congratulations. But it’s not always been a smooth ride for Mark, as he’s had to fight with injuries, illness and depression, which saw him consider retirement as recently as last October.
Hannah Lawton, Help for Heroes Sport Recovery Manager, hailed Cavendish’s phoenix-like resurgence after he started the summer without a place in the Deceuninck - Quick-Step team for Le Tour.
“We’re all delighted for him,” she said.
“He’s an absolute inspiration and demonstrates the power of sport as a recovery tool from both a physical and psychological perspective." - Hannah Lawton, Help for Heroes Sport Recovery Manager
“He’s an absolute inspiration and demonstrates the power of sport as a recovery tool from both a physical and psychological perspective.
"We work daily with people for whom physical and psychological concerns are barriers to a normal life and, like Cav, they work hard to overcome them. And achieving that personal growth is their gold medal or green jersey. I’m sure they will be even further inspired by him now.”
Cavendish had been drafted in as a late replacement after his Deceuninck Quick-Step team-mate Sam Bennett was injured and he went on to win four stages against all the odds.
“If we'd talked four weeks ago, I wasn't even going to be at this race,” he said in the press conference.
“I never really thought about getting it [the green points jersey] since 2011. I am super grateful – it feels like I am getting younger. I’m back; it’s a dream.
“To be here 10 years later, again with the green jersey, it's fantastic. The support of the public has been incredible during all the Tour de France. Coming back to Paris is an honour.”
His relationship with the charity , which goes back a decade, owes much to affairs of the heart.
For had it not been for the Armed Forces charity he might never have met his wife – and mother of his three children – former model Peta Todd.
Having become a patron of the charity following a visit to Headley Court, Peta went to the USA with a team from The Sun newspaper to cover a veterans event there. Meanwhile, Mark and his colleagues were training nearby and, when he spotted the former page-three girl, he vowed to his fellow cyclists he would marry her.
They wed in 2013, two years after the Manx rider had won his Tour de France green jersey with the T-Mobile Team, but only after he promised Peta he would also become a patron of the charity that she held so dear.
Since then, the couple have been very active within the charity and count several of its veterans as personal friends. Mark sees in them the same determination to overcome injury and illness that has seen him return successfully to the 2021 Tour de France and equal the legendary Eddy Merckx’s stage-win record of 34.
Whether or not he returns to the Tour in 2022 remains to be seen, but he would dearly love to break Merckx’s record of stage wins.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Cavendish said: “This race has given me the life I have and ‘given this race the life I have. We'll see what happens. It’s still a year away, let's just wait and see.”
Whether or not he returns, Cavendish has established himself as a legend in the sport and we remain delighted he chooses to be a patron of our Charity.
If you're in need of support and you think Help for Heroes can be of service, please visit our Get Support area for more information, contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 303 9888.
How you can help us
We rely on the spirit and generosity of the great British public. We've already supported more than 26,500 people and won’t stop until every wounded veteran gets the support they deserve.
Both Mark and Peta are patrons of our charity and help us raise valuable funds every year. If you’d like to join them in ensuring these services continue, please visit our Give Support area for ways you can get involved.