It does beg the question that, considering how the press like to destroy their idols as quickly as they build them up, whether Mark actually wants (or will benefit from) more media coverage?
But he’s a cyclist. So even now on a quick flick through mainstream news outlets, his victory today has got some coverage but nowhere near the level that his dominance deserves.
In the last four Tour De Frances he has won 20 stages, putting him well up the all-time list for record number of stage wins, despite still being a comparative youngster.
He has won the most prestigious cycling stage – the final stage in Paris of the Tour De France – for three years in a row.
He has become the first British cyclist to win the Green jersey and only the second ever to win any sort of Tour De France jersey.
His dominance in the flat bunch sprints is so great that each time it is all about “Can anyone beat Cavendish”?
The reduction in the number of such stage finishes in this year’s Tour De France has been put down to, yes, the organisers wanting to ensure people don’t get bored with the same result happening too many times.
His former rival Thor Hushovd publicly admits he changed his cycling specialism from trying to win bunch sprints because he knew he couldn’t beat Cavendish.
When he started dominating, Cavendish’s achievements were not even worth a mention in the top 95 stories on the Sky News website. He gets more coverage now, but it is still only a fraction of what a mediocre, not quite medal winning or final reaching, British sportsmen in many other sports gets.
To put it into the context of another sport: the rate at which he has notched up stage wins in the Tour De France and made the talk be all about who can beat him is reminiscent of Tiger Woods in his Major-winning pomp.
As with many of the very best sporstmen, Cavendish doesn’t always come over as a lovely person in an interview. I was struck by the comparison between one soft interview in which he still didn’t shine, however, with one I watched shortly after about a young athlete talking of their hopes for the 2012 London Olympics. She was hoping to simply make it to the finals. In other words, her ambition was to turn up and lose. Cavendish is in a very different class, and his ambition and the petulance and complaints that sometimes comes with that shows. Hugely to his credit, he does frequently praise his team though – he may at times say the wrong thing, but he is not a prima donna who forgets others. And he wins. Again and again.
Cavendish should be one of our country’s sporting heroes.