People are invited to cheer Mark Cavendish on at a specially created fan zone in the Isle of Man on Sunday as he looks set to complete his record breaking Tour de France in Paris.
The Manx rider’s heroics have seen him win four stages at this year’s event already, to take him level with the legendary Eddy Merckx on 34 wins – a record that has stood for 46 years.
With two sprints still to contest, including Sunday’s final stage on the Champs-Elysees, it is possible that the 36-year-old could eclipse the Belgian and rewrite the cycling history books at the world’s most famous race.
Speaking after the record equaling win, the 36-year-old, said: ‘If one of my victories can inspire ten children to take on cycling and maybe race the Tour de France in the future, that’s what will matter the most to me.’
In honour of this, a fan zone is being created at the Villa Marina Gardens in Douglas, so locals and visitors can gather to watch his trademark sprint finish on a big screen.
Cyclists are also invited to take part in a safe and inclusive procession to the fan zone which will start at the National Sports Centre, where Mark began his racing career as a young boy.
People are asked to arrive with their bike at 2.30pm before the procession gets under way at 3pm with a lap of the raceway. It will then be led under police escort and flanked with experienced riders to the fan zone with cyclists asked to wear green, the colour of the sprinters’ jersey, but children under the age of eight (Year 4) cannot take part.
The ITV4 coverage will be screened live in the Villa Marina Gardens from 2pm and shots of the procession will also be relayed on the big screen so those not taking part can still watch the spectacle.
A number of local businesses will provide food and drink and bike parks will be created, meaning parking for cars will be extremely limited.
Chief Minster Howard Quayle MHK said: ‘What Mark has achieved in his career, but especially in the last fortnight, is simply incredible. Everyone in the Isle of Man is proud of him and we wanted to put on this event so people can show their support as he sprints on the Champs-Elysees finale, which he has already won a record four times in his career.’
‘This is without doubt one the greatest sporting comebacks of all time and Mark has written his name in the history books forever. He is a true cycling great.’
Cavendish wasn't even expected to be racing the 2021 edition of the Tour, but an injury to Deceuninck - Quick-Step's Sam Bennett meant he was a late call-up and he has stunned the race, winning three of the opening 12 stages. His achievements are even more remarkable as it is the first time he has competed at the event since 2016.