Former world champion Mark Cavendish was so impressed with the performance of an 11-year-old cyclist at this month’s Friends Life Tour Ride that he invited the youngster onto the podium afterwards – and presented him with a pair of signed sunglasses.
Ben Pierce had tackled the 52.5 mile Challenge 50 route across the Staffordshire Moorlands and skirting the Peak District on the ride which started and finished in Stoke-on-Trent and included the climb of Gun Hill, reports the Shropshire Star.
Last month, Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Cavendish said he was supporting the event as his official sportive.
The youngster, from Oswestry, is a member of Mid Shropshire Wheelers and has been riding since he was four, his mother Claire told the newspaper.
She said: “His dad has always ridden bikes and so he was on a bike as soon as he could.
“He loves his cycling and Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins are his heroes.
“He met Wiggins when he was here for the British stage of the Tour de France so he is on something of a roll at the moment,” she added.
A young Cavendish was once photographed with one of his idols, David Millar. Hopefully Ben can realise his dreams and see his picture with the former world champion one day achieve the same status.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.