Cycling star Mark Cavendish to retire at end of 2023

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Britain's sprint king Mark Cavendish will end his 17-year career as a professional cyclist at the conclusion of the season.

During his illustrious career Cavendish racked up 161 victories, including 34 at the Tour de France to equal the record of Belgian great Eddy Merckx.

Cavendish made the announcement during a press conference organised by his Astana-Qazagstan team during the rest day at the Giro d'Italia in Coccaglio, a day after his 38th birthday.

"I've absolutely loved racing every kilometre of this race so far, so I feel it's the perfect time to say its my final Giro d'Italia and 2023 will be my final season as a professional cyclist," Cavendish said.

His explosive ability to win bunch sprints earned Isle of Man native Cavendish the nickname the "Manx Missile".

During his career he has a total of 53 Grand Tour stage wins and won the road world title in 2011.

He also won an individual silver medal on the track at the 2016 Rio Olympics and claimed three career world titles on the track in the Madison discipline.

Cavendish enjoyed a remarkable return to form in 2021 after significant cycling injuries and illness, matching Merckx's record by winning stage 13 of the Tour de France, his fourth victory in that year's edition.

He is expected to ride this year's Tour.