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Cyclist magazine issue 123: on sale now!

26 Jan 2022

In this issue: Mark Cavendish blasts back; Tour de France Femmes; The Desert of Wales

Photos: Patrik Lundin; Chris Blott

Issue 123, March 2022, of Cyclist magazine is on sale now. Subscribe to Cyclist here or buy issue 123 at the Cyclist Shop.

Look at his face. He’s one of the most recognisable characters in professional cycling, and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mark Cavendish look like that. For the first time in his career, he looks content.

For years we’ve been used to seeing combative Cav, cocky Cav, contentious Cav, surly Cav, elated Cav, angry Cav, and after a particularly bruising Gent-Wevelgem in 2020, a despairing, tearful Cav as he contemplated an end to his career.

At that time a combination of Epstein-Barr virus and mental health issues had robbed him of his powers, and it looked like he may never return to winning ways. But then came the 2021 miracle.

Against all predictions, the stars aligned to see Cavendish return to Deceuninck-QuickStep and secure a place at the Tour de France, where he took four stage wins to equal Eddy’s Merckx’s all-time record.

As he tells Cyclist in our interview this issue, he fully intends to return even stronger to the Tour this year, with a view to becoming the outright record holder for the most stage wins. But I can’t help thinking that, even if he doesn’t win a stage, it won’t matter that much to him.

The hard part is over. He came back after a long period where, through no fault of his own, he couldn’t perform to the level he expected, having been written off by many people in the sport, and he reminded everyone that he is still one of the greatest cyclists to have ever lived.

No one can take that away now; his legacy is secure, and with that must come an overwhelming sense of relief – hence the look of a man free from burden.

For that, I feel extremely happy for him. To my mind, Cavendish is the best cyclist this country has ever had, competing in the toughest discipline in the sport.

Sprinters have to combine explosive power with incredible endurance and nerves of steel to battle it out, elbow-to-elbow at 70kmh as the line approaches. It’s little wonder that few sprinters stay at the top of their game for long.

Cav has done it for 15 years. He’s got nothing left to prove. Whatever happens, he can retire happy.

Pete Muir Editor

What’s in issue 123?

Coming round the mountain: Ahead of an epic new sportive, Cyclist takes on a two-day gravel ride through France, Italy and Switzerland to loop around western Europe's highest mountain: Mont Blanc

'I'm a different person': Mark Cavendish tells Cyclist how the pain of his lost years, and the vindication of his 2021 comeback, have changed him, and how he plans to seal his legacy

A Tour of our own: This year sees the launch of the Tour de France Femmes, the latest attempt to give women their own version of the world's greatest race. Cyclist talks to the women who competed in previous events, and looks at the bumpy route to this historic moment

Col du Soulor: Surrounded by more glamorous neighbours, the northern ascent of the Col du Soulor in the French Pyrenees had to wait years in the wings before getting its chance to shine at the Tour de France

Rocket power: From the cafes of 1970s Milan to the homes of WorldTour pros, Rocket Espresso has become the must-have coffee machine of the cycling world

The Desert of Wales: The Cambrian Mountains of central Wales are known for their remoteness and lack of roads. Not a problem when you're armed with a gravel bike

For all this and much more, pick up your copy of Cyclist issue 123, on sale now.

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