Age: 35 (22/10/82)
Team: Dimension Data
Pro Since: 2004
Mark Renshaw was born in Bathurst, New South Wales. He began his career as a track cyclist riding for the Bathurst Cycle Club where he was coached by Mark Windsor. From a young age he was touted as a name with a big future in the sport and in his early teens was selected for the Western Region Academy of Sport. In the 1998 Australian U-17 Track Championships, he won gold in the Teams Pursuit (Australian Record), Scratch Race, Time Trial, and Individual Pursuit (Australian Record); and also secured silver in the Flying 200m Time Trial.
As a first-year under 19 rider, Renshaw continued to achieve strong results inside the velodrome. He was selected to compete for Australia in the Junior World Track Championships where he became a World Champion, alongside Jobie Dajka and Ben Kersten, in the Olympic Sprint.
As a second-year Under 19 rider, Renshaw put up an impressive display at the National Track Championships. He was 1st in the Olympic Sprint, 1st in the Time Trial, 2nd in the Individual Pursuit, 1st in the Team Pursuit, 4th in the Keirin and 1st in the Scratch Race. Again Renshaw was chosen to compete in the Junior World Championships. In these Championships, Renshaw added individual World Championship success to his Team's success from the previous season, returning to Australia a champion in the 1000m Time Trial, as well as defending his team's crown in the Olympic Sprint, and thus becoming a Triple World Junior Champion.
As a senior Mark began to focus more on endurance track riding, in the hope of becoming a professional road cyclist. In 2002 he placed consistently in the Points Race, Madison and Teams Pursuit. He was also a key part of the Australian Team Pursuit team (along with Graeme Brown, Brad McGee and Luke Roberts) that broke the World Record at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. At the same time his road career also began to take off when he was selected in the Brad McGee-organized NSWIS-FDJeux Development squad. A short spell with amateur squad SCO Dijon followed and this was the catalyst for Mark to join the senior FDJeux.com squad in 2004.
Renshaw stayed with FDJeux.com for two seasons, before he moved to Credit Agricole, with the main aim of using his track bike handling experience to ride as lead-out for Thor Hushovd. He showed strong early season form, taking out the Geelong Bay Series Criterium for the second consecutive year. This led to him racing as Credit Agricole's main sprinter in the early events, where he picked up his first Pro-Tour victory in the first stage of his 'local' Pro-Tour event, the Tour Down Under. Renshaw went on to lead the General Classification of the Tour Down Under, until the penultimate Willunga Hill stage, where his lack of climbing ability meant he lost considerable time and the race lead to future team mate Andre Greipel.
It was during his time with Credit Agricole that Renshaw made his Tour de France debut in 2008, after missing the 2007 race through illness. In the 2008 race, Mark received great praise for his role in Thor Hushovd's win on Stage 2 of the race. After the Credit Agricole team folded at the end of 2008, Renshaw was hired for team Columbia-High Road. His primary responsibility in major races was as lead-out rider for sprinter Mark Cavendish. After his first season with Columbia in 2009, Renshaw received praise from commentators and fellow riders alike for his part in Cavendish's hugely successful Tour and season in general, and was now commonly referred to as "the World's best lead-out man". Renshaw's individual highlight of the 2009 season was possibly his second placed finish on the final stage of the Tour de France, after a lead-out that also gave Cavendish the victory.
After a successful first season as leadout man for Mark Cavendish, with HTC-Columbia in 2009, Renshaw was primed for a big season in 2010. His planned season schedule was to ride the Tour Down Under, the Tour de France and then the World Championships - being held for the first time at home for Mark, in Australia. These plans soon changed when he was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus in the pre-season which put his whole season behind. Renshaw missed his home tour, the Tour Down Under, and didn't return to Europe and serious training until February. This, coincidentally, roughly matched a delayed start to Cavendish's season (due to a tooth infection), and also meant that Renshaw should be peaking later for his goal of the World Championships late in the year. Renshaw's season goals remained the World Championships, the Tour de France and the Tour of California, the latter two where he would be riding as leadout man for Cavendish.
The Renshaw-Cavendish partnership reaped immediate rewards, when reunited for the Tour of California, with Cavendish winning the first stage of the race after a Renshaw leadout. During Stage 1 of the 2010 Tour de France, Renshaw got an unexpected chance to sprint for himself, when Cavendish crashed in the final kilometre. Renshaw showed his own quality as a sprinter, finishing 2nd to Italian Alessandro Petacchi. In 2011, the duo combined to deadly effect with Cavendish winning 7 Grand Tour stages over the course of the season. At the Tour of Britain in the latter part of the year, Mark enjoyed success outsprinting Cavendish to win stage 5. However at the end of the year, they went separate ways, Cavendish signing for Team Sky and Mark joining Rabobank.
After years of selfless riding as a lead-out, Mark's role at Rabobank allowed him sprint for himself, as well as working alongside teammate Theo Bos. His first season at Rabobank included a number of strong performances, most notably in the Tour Down Under and Giro d'Italia. In 2013, Renshaw made a quick start to the season with a couple of podium finishes in the Tour Down Under. His Rabobank team had rebranded as Belkin Pro cycling and Mark was looking forward to riding in the 100th edition of the Tour de France. However disaster struck in April when he was involved in a high speed collision in the Tour of Turkey. Unfortunately he fractured his collarbone and required surgery to rectify the situation. Although disappointed to miss the biggest spectacle on the cycling calendar, Mark returned to action in fine form, winning the opening stage at the Eneco Tour in August. Days prior to the victory, it had been confirmed that Renshaw would be joining Omega Pharma Quick step in 2014, where he'll be re-united again with Cavendish.
With Mark onboard to lead out team mate Cavendish in the Grand Tours, disaster struck in the opening stage of the Tour de France when Cavendish was involved in a crash and was forced to retire from the race injured. As a result, Mark became OPQS's number one sprinter for the remainder of the Tour and with little explosive sprint training in the legs, he performed remarkably well securing five top-5 finishes. In August, he represented Australia in the road race at the Commonwealth Games and looked a leading medal contender with 50km to go. Unfortunately he punctured shortly after and had to settle for fifth. However Mark finished his season in style with an impressive stage victory at the Tour of Britain. In 2015, his goal is to help Cavendish to more Grand Tour stage victories.
Mark enjoyed another succesful season in 2015, leading teammate Cavendish to multiple stage wins at the Tour of Turkey and California respectively. However the highlight of the year unquestionably was Cav's stage victory at the Tour de France where Mark played another pivotal role. In September 2015, it was announced that Mark and Cav would be joining Team Dimension Data in 2016.
In Marks’s first season with the South African WorldTour team, he helped Cav to early season victories in Dubai and Croatia. However the highlight came at the Tour de France where Cav enjoyed four stage wins. Mark played a key role in three of these successes but was forced to withdraw early from the race due to illness.
Over the coming seasons, Mark will be looking to build on the success that the team enjoyed in their debut season.All photography provided courtesy of Graham Watson.
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