This article was first published in September 2021 but has renewed significance after Mark Cavendish announced he would retire from cycling at the end of 2023. Read our retirement story here.
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Bradley Wiggins says helping Mark Cavendish win the 2011 world road race title in Copenhagen was his “proudest moment in a GB jersey”.
Thomas pays tribute to 'greatest sprinter of all time' Cavendish ahead of retirement
The 2012 Tour de France champion was part of an eight-strong British team that sat on the front of the peloton, tirelessly reeling in a series of breaks.
Eventually, the selfless work of Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard, David Millar, Jeremy Hunt and Steve Cummings presented Cavendish into the final corner with his dream of the rainbow jersey intact, an opportunity the Manx Missile seized by powering down the home straight to victory.
“In 2011, I was very fortunate to be part of a World Championships winning team which was amazingly 10 years ago now,” said Wiggins.
“The World Road Race Championship in Copenhagen where Britain’s own Mark Cavendish won a historic men’s race and I lined up with some of Britain’s best riders, a real golden generation of riders which included three Tour de France winners looking back.
“It was a real privilege to be part of that squad. The course in Copenhagen was announced two years previously and it was expected to be on to suit the sprinters. Team Manager Rod Ellingworth titled the whole project, Project Rainbow.
“The key to success was basing a team around Mark who could control 200 plus riders from various nations throughout the day to make sure the race finished together, all to unleash the sprint for the world’s fastest sprinter.
“The race tactics were executed to perfection with myself and my team-mates taking up the riding soon after the start and nullifying any attacks from other nations whose goal was simply to disrupt the race just so it didn’t end up in a bunch sprint as Mark was the clear favourite of the day.
“Looking back, it was my proudest moment in a GB jersey in what was an incredible team effort both on and off the bike for Mark to become Britain’s second men's world road race champion since the great Tommy Simpson.”
Simpson won the men's road race in 1965, while Lizzie Deignan won the women's title in 2015 and is Britain's most recent winner.
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