Cycling

Cavendish discusses experiences of depression, praises Bahrain-McLaren

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Mark Cavendish

Image credit: Getty Images

ByAlexander Netherton
05/04/2020 at 17:45 | Updated 05/04/2020 at 18:59

Cyclist Mark Cavendish has spoken of his experiences of depression, but says he is now in a "happy place".

Speaking to the Telegraph newspaper, Cavendish explained that losing most of two seasons to a bout of Epstein-Barr virus has left him thankful to be able to ride again.

The sprinter also broke his shoulder to such a degree that he is a degree of constant pain, and is facing up to the experience of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cavendish said: “I had this going on for two years - the unknown of when you're going back racing - so I'm actually winning.

“Being on the indoor trainer, in the gym every day… okay, it was interspersed with racing. But now I've been doing that and feeling good, [rather than] not doing that and feeling like a sack of s***.”

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The Bahrain-McLaren team - a team he says he 'loves' - have hit riders and staff with up to 70 per cent wage deferrals, and at 34 time is running out for the Manx rider. He also misses racing.

"Look, I'm a racer. We want to get out and race, that's obvious. But it is what it is. There's worse problems in the world than a few athletes not being able to compete right now. I think we're still in a more fortunate position than some other people so just make the most of it, I guess.”

Cavendish is able to exercise in space on the Isle of Man, saying: “I live right out on the lanes so I can do a ride without going near anyone. It's my happy place.”

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The improvement in his mood is a contrast two his struggles with Epstein-Barr, and also depression, which he was diagnosed with in the summer of 2018. His depression was compounded by his struggles with Esptein-Barr and also his relationship with Dimension Data head Doug Ryder which broke down.

“I’m on the other side now,” he says, though he is wary.

“Well, as much as I can be. And it’s nice to have come out of that. And to look for the positives. I think it could have been easy for me to go through my whole career and only see the kids once they’re teenagers.

“To be able to absorb this... it’s only been a couple of weeks now, but it’s already been so nice to have that, to be able to do what mums and dads do. It keeps me happy, it keeps me super motivated, and it keeps me sane I guess.”

Talking of his relationship with his new team, he is full of praise.

“On a personal level, not just a professional level.

“I'm a fan of motorsport and a fan of McLaren and I was lucky to work with the company on a small scale across my career but to be able to race now with that brand on my jersey, it's pretty special. I still have to rein in my fanboy attitude sometimes.”

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CyclingBahrain-McLarenMark CavendishGreg Van Avermaet
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