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Reporter beats euro media pack to cycling star story

The global media circus surrounding the Tour de France did not prevent a weekly newspaper reporter from securing an interview with one of its stars.

Mark Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, has won three stages on this year’s Tour and boosted his standing in the sport to an entirely new level.

But the 23-year-old still found time to speak Isle of Man Newspapers reporter Richard Allen who has been covering Mark’s career since joining the papers 18 months ago.

Tuesday was the riders first rest day of the Tour which gave Richard the opportunity for a one-to-one chat with Mark from his hotel in the Pyrenees.

Richard used special telephone recording equipment for the interview so was able to put audio clips on and a snippet of their conversation ahead of a fuller feature in this week’s edition of the Manx Independent.

Richard told HoldtheFrontPage: “We discussed his reaction to the stages and he was also talking about all the Isle of Man fans he’s seen around.

“It was difficult to get hold of him as he was out on the bike for two hours even though it was a rest day. It’s like trying to talk to Wayne Rooney during the World Cup.

“When he has a big race, from his sponsors’ point of view, they want him to be talking to the big media players but he’s always been very accommodating with us.

“He’s the first Manx rider there’s ever been in the Tour so for him to be winning, it’s a big thing.

“His profile in the UK could be raised even more after the Olympics.”

Getting the story is no mean feat considering around 2,000 journalists, broadcasters, cameramen and other media are following the cyclists’ every move during the three-week tour.

Mark himself has been penning a column from the Tour for the Guardian along with all his other media obligations which heighten dramatically after a stage win.

For the rest of the time Richard has been using his contacts within the cycling media to bring Isle of Man readers updates direct from southern Europe.

  • Richard interviewing Mark Cavendish after he won gold at April’s World Track Championships in Manchester