The Tour of Britain is the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, taking in stages from Peebles in Scotland down to Haytor in the South-West of England. Unfortunately it misses out the Isle of Man, but that didn’t stop world champion Mark Cavendish from getting in some high-speed practice on his home roads.
In a film produced with Jaguar Academy of Sport, Cavendish sets out to see just how fast he can travel the 8km descent from Bungalow to Ramsey, timed by the accompanying Jaguar XF Sportbrake chase car.
The fastest he’s travelled on a bike was on a race in Switzerland when he reached over 75mph (120km/h), but normally on a downhill course he’ll get close to 62mph (100km/h) – all without any meaningful protection apart from the lid on his head.
Not content with merely riding flat out, Cavendish talks us round the course, passing on his tips for reaching the highest possible speeds including finding the right gear, achieving the right body position and maintaining an unrelenting pace throughout a race.
“I’d never been on the TT course when it was closed, this was my first time. I’d been buzzing about it for ages. We learned the course in a Jaguar XF Sportbrake and I then rode it on my bike. Both were really exciting,” said Cavendish.
He reached the outskirts of Ramsey in just 7m32s while travelling at an average speed of 40mph (64km/h), along the way he achieved a top speed of 63mph (101km/h).
Unfortunately his speed is thus far eluding him on the Tour of Britain. The Manx Missile failed to win Sunday’s first stage and was beaten yesterday after launching a solo attack seven miles from home. It’s been a disappointing season for the Brit after leaving Team Sky last year and joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep. The 28-year old world champion has since ‘only’ won 16 races and was comprehensively beaten in July’s Tour de France.
There’s better news for Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won today’s stage three individual time trial, beating team-mate and fellow Briton Ian Stannard by 32 seconds. Wiggins now leads the Tour of Britain as it goes into tomorrow’s stage four between Stoke-on-Trent and Llanberis.