When road riders attain the status of "elite sprinter" even their names starts to sound exotic and glamorous: Cavendish, Petacchi, Cipollini...
... Zabel, Kelly, Abdoujaparov, Maertens, Blijlevens, McEwen, Freire, Hushovd, Kittel and Greipel have a list of nicknames is almost as long: The Manx Missile, Super Mario, The Tashkent Tornado...and so it goes on. Maybe it's the dual nature of their cycling activity that captures the imagination; these two wheeled assassins of the tarmac lurk in the relative safety of the peloton and lead out train before exploding into last few 100 metres of the stage. Maybe it's the mercurial nature of the show ponies who blast to victory in a handful of tour stages before vanishing at the prospect of a mountain.
Whether it's that, the horrific crashes or the pure, flat out speed, the exploits of the greats etch their names into our memories. The striking thing about these ruthless competitors is that we don't know much about their craft. Getting led out on the club run down Coombes Lane doesn't quite equate to being launched down the Champs Elysées by Bradley Wiggins. This BBC article taken from a 5 Live interview gives a rare glimpse into the sprinter's world and mindset through the eyes of one of the all time greats. It's a fascinating read.
Click on the Cav image above to see the story.