Mark Cavendish: I cannot wait to race in the party atmosphere of our velodrome

Mark Cavendish
AFP/Getty Images

The first time I road Phynova Six Day London, I’d just won the World Championships madison at London velodrome with Bradley Wiggins.

That was in 2016, eight years after our last world title together and it felt like the crowd had invested in our journey in between so, to partner with Brad as he went out on a high with London and then Gent afterwards, was a pretty special moment.

London’s not a place where I’ve actually done that much: two Six Days and that Worlds but it’s always a great atmosphere, like a party in a velodrome and light years apart from, say, one-day racing.

Six-day racing is as old as road racing but the road can be a bit spectator unfriendly.

You can camp for two days to see riders pass by in just two minutes while this brings a different atmosphere. You don’t need to be an avid cycling fan to just enjoy what’s going on.

Switching from the road to the track is not easy at all. The track is a lot more explosive and power based — the best way to describe it is switching to a petrol engine from, say, a diesel on the road. I’ve done a little bit of practice although London’s a bigger track than some so the switch isn’t so challenging.

This time, I’ve been paired with Owain Doull. We’ve only ridden one madison before and we won that so hopefully that bodes well.

But whatever happens, I love the racing on track. It’s absolutely pure, there’s no external factors, no wind and no terrain. You’re on a fixed gear, and it’s about split-second decisions. You have no more than 100 metres to make any decision so it’s a lot less forgiving than the road.

As a rider, I always feel like there’s a target on my back and I’m under pressure to perform but that pressure comes from inside me as I just want to win, wherever it may be. But racing at home feels special.

I’m incredibly proud to be British and any time I can race at home I look forward to it.

The majority of fans have seen Britain become the top cycling nation in the world and it’s nice every time you get to celebrate that.

Cycling’s always had a good following but it’s changed quite a lot, with more people than ever into it, whether that be watching Six Day London, commuting on a bike, riding out with the family or just to keep fit at the weekend.

Mark Cavendish returns to Phynova Six Day London and goes head-to-head with the world’s best track cyclists at Lee Valley VeloPark from today to October 27. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/sixdaylondon