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    Mark Cavendish: the fastest man on two wheels

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    ODN

    by ODN

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    He's the fastest man on two wheels and a cycling superstar on the continent, but the British public perhaps don't know Mark Cavendish as well as they should.


    The 25-year-old from the Isle of Man has now won 15 Tour de France stages and, along with Bradley Wiggins, helped raise UK interest in the annual event.


    We spoke to him at the reopening of London's Nike Town last week and being the speed king of the Tour de France we were desperate to know the top speeds Cavendish has reached.


    "The top speed I've ever done in a sprint has been clocked at 78kph and I think that's the fastest ever in a sprint," he revealed.


    "But the fastest I've ever been was in the Tour of Switzerland last year when I did 128kph downhill."


    It sounds terrifying, but Cavendish insists you don't have to have a screw loose to achieve such speeds.


    "It's calculated and not reckless. I know my limits, but I will push that right to the edge."


    In order to be so successful in the highly-charged environment of sprinting, it appears Cavendish enjoys some rather unusual training techniques.


    "I enjoy most kinds of puzzles, but I don't do them with lots of thinking time, I do them very quickly. I play speed chess so you can't think ahead and have to think quickly.


    "It gets you thinking on the spot without a thought of the consequences. Eventually you learn what is good and what is bad and it becomes instinct and then you know what to do."


    At the moment he certainly knows what to do on a bike and will be hoping next year to earn even more Tour de France stage wins and perhaps the coveted green jersey.